Doing and rethinking. Building resilience with men

Publication Date14 September 2015
AuthorMark Robinson,Steve Robertson,Mary Steen,Gary Raine,Rhiannon Day
SubjectHealth & social care,Mental health
Doing and rethinking. Building resilience
with men
Mark Robinson, Steve Robertson, Mary Steen, Gary Raine and Rhiannon Day
Dr Mark Robinson is Research
Fellow and Steve Robertson is
Professor, both are based at
Centre for Mens Health, Leeds
Beckett University, Leeds, UK.
Mary Steen is Professor of
Midwifery at School
of Nursing and Midwifery,
Health Sciences Division,
University of South Australia,
Adelaide, Australia.
Dr Gary Raine is based at
Centre for Mens Health, Leeds
Beckett University, Leeds, UK.
Rhiannon Day is based at
School of Health and
Wellbeing, Leeds Beckett
University, Leeds, UK.
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to present findings from an evaluation of a mental health resilience
intervention for unemployed men aged 45-60. The focus is on examining the place of activities within a
multi-dimensional mens mental health programme, and exploring interactions between social context
factors and models of change.
Design/methodology/approach The paper draws on before and after survey data and qualitative
interviews, to report results concerning effectiveness in changing mens perceived resilience, to consider
project processes concerning activities, social support and coping strategies, and to situate these within
wider environments.
Findings The programme significantly raised the perceived resilience of participants. Activities were
engaging for men, while the complex intersection between activities, social networking, and coping
strategies course provided opportunities for men to develop resilience in contextsresonant with their male
Research limitations/implications A limitation is that the evaluation could not measure longer term
Practical implications The paper discusses emerging considerations for resilience building, focusing on
gender-sensitive approaches which can engage and retain men by focusing on doing and talking, in the
contexts of mens life-course, highlighting embodied (male) identities not disembodied mental states, and
facilitating social support. There are challenges to recruit men despite stigma, support men to speak of
feelings, and facilitate progression.
Social implications Potential exists for gender-aware programmes to sustain salutogenic change,
co-producing social assets of peer support, male-friendly activities, and context sensitive course provision.
Originality/value The paper adds fresh evidence of gendered intervention approaches, including effects
on male resilience. Application of a context-sensitive change model leads to multi-component findings for
transferring and sustaining programme gains.
Keywords Mens health, Evaluation, Resilience, Social interventions, Life transitions
Paper type Research paper
This paper has a dual purpose. First, it presents findings from an evaluation of an exploratory
mental health resilience pilot programme aimed at unemployed men aged 45-60. The paper
specifically discusses in detail the place of activitiesfor men (e.g. community gardening,
handyman/refurbishing community buildings, ICT, metal crafts, football, drumming) within the
programme and its change model. Second, the paper reflects on how a programmes model of
change needs to be responsive to contextual dimensions for projects to thrive. For a resilience
programme aimed at promoting wellbeing and preventing mental ill-health, this means that to be
transformational for male participants the model of change requires a strong, gendered, social as
well as psychological underpinning.
Received 19 December 2014
Revised 1 April 2015
1 June 2015
Accepted 10 June 2015
The authors acknowledge the
support of the Mind Resilience
programme co-ordinator and
project steering group. The
authors thank the men who gave
valuable time to being interviewed,
and who filled in questionnaires.
The authors also thank
stakeholders who took part in
DOI 10.1108/MHRJ-12-2014-0045 VOL. 20 NO. 3 2015, pp. 185-198, © Emerald Group Publishing Limited, ISSN 1361-9322
PAG E 18 5

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