Experiences of Depression and Help-Seeking Described by Young Swedish Men

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Abstract

Depression is common but is given far less attention among men than women, especially among young Swedish men. In this article we highlight young urban men’s experiences of depression and help-seeking in relation to their conception of masculinity, as one way to better understand young men’s situation when suffering from depression. We carried out a qualitative study and interviewed 13 men, 21 to 32 years old. The open-ended interviews were analyzed with qualitative content analysis and we discovered one overarching theme: It’s interfering with life, identity, and gendered ideas. The men’s illness journey was characterized by a struggle impacting all aspects of life. Portrayals included negotiating norms of ideal masculinity to accept and express symptoms and to be accepted by others. The men described a struggle with the ability, willingness and possibility to receive treatment. The symptoms were eventually accepted and expressed and help was sought, however the process was delayed because of prevailing gender ideals. These findings can contribute to improved interventions, treatment and equality in care as well as decrease stigma.

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