Australia’s largest men’s health study shows what's working, and where gaps lie in men’s uptake of mental health services

Content type
Media release

November 2022


Clement Wong, Karlee O'Donnell, Jennifer Prattley, Brendan Quinn, Rebecca Jenkinson, Rukhsana Tajin, Bosco Rowland

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The Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) has released the second report from their landmark Ten to Men research series. The report, Mental Health care needs and access among Australian men: a data linkage study, reveals that whilst there is a clear increase in uptake of mental health services among men, there are still some pressing barriers needing to be addressed.

The report, which links Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) data with other Ten to Men survey responses, highlights the patterns of usage for mental health services and prescriptions, and analyses the socio-economic, health and demographic characteristics impacting on men’s usage of mental health care in Australia.

Ten to Men Program Lead, Dr Sean Martin, said that it offers an opportunity to dive further into men’s use of these services for their mental health in order to inform policies aimed at improving men's mental health:

'Ten to Men is one of the largest longitudinal studies of men's health and wellbeing in the world. This second chapter paints a detailed picture of not just who is accessing mental health care in Australia, but almost more importantly who isn’t and the barriers they may be facing, opening important conversations.

'Understanding these barriers is crucial in crafting targeted initiatives to overcome both structural and attitudinal barriers. The reports insights, including the important role that GPs have played in men’s access to mental health care, are critical in conversations around policy and practice'. 

Men’s use of MBS- or PBS-funded mental health care differed across socio-economic groups, with higher usage trends among men who were older, less educated, not employed or who identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander. These usage differences were more pronounced in mental health prescriptions compared to mental health services.

The study identified that some of the men experiencing greater depressive symptoms who may have benefitted from treatment, did not subsequently access mental health care. This was more often the case for among employed men, as well as those who conformed more to traditional masculine norms.

Dr Clement Wong, Lead Author of the report, explains the importance of the report in providing a comprehensive overview of key unmet needs in the space.

'The study shows that a large proportion of the sample experiencing greater depressive symptoms did not access a relevant mental health service or prescription. Such data suggests that there is a substantial unmet need for mental health care among Australian men'.

The report, based on a study of around 8,000 participants, is one of four chapters being released by Ten to Men over the coming month, revealing insights that address priority areas of the National Men’s Health Strategy 2020-2030.

Access theTen to Men Insights #2 Chapter 2: Mental health care needs and access among Australian men: A data linkage study

About Ten to Men

Ten to Men is a national research initiative aimed at filling the gaps in knowledge about why males on average have poorer health outcomes than females, and why certain groups of males have poorer health than males in general. The knowledge gained in the study will be used to improve programs and policies for male health in Australia.

The study is longitudinal – meaning that we will return to participants every few years for an update so that we can understand how changing life stages and circumstances might affect health and wellbeing over time.

Media contact     
Kate O'Connor      
Phone: 0499 860 257  
Email: kate.o'[email protected]