About the study

Men seek help for a mental health problem at lower levels than women, but this does not mean they have better mental health. In fact, studies show that men do experience mental health problem at rates similar to women but do not seek help for these problems. This can ultimately lead to problems such as family issues, drug and alcohol use and suicide.

It has been found that men are more likely to talk to their female intimate partner before they seek help from a professional such as a GP. It is therefore really important to find out how this communication arises and what the communication looks like in order to increase our understanding of how we can encourage men to seek help for mental health problems.


Can you help? 

I am looking for women over the age of 18 to interview about their experiences. If you have been concerned about the mental wellbeing of a man you are currently, or have previously been in a relationship with, and had discussions with this partner about their mental health, I would like to interview you about this. It is not important whether or not the man sought help from a professional after your communications, only that there was some communication around the mental health concern.

You will be asked to come to The University of Surrey for the interview, or I can meet you in another location if more convenient. If you do not live in the area of Surrey, Hampshire or West Sussex, the interview can be conducted via Skype or telephone. The interviews will take around 30-45 minutes in which we will have a conversation about your experience of communicating to your partner about his mental health.

Click here to register your interest



This study has received favourable ethical approval from The University of Surrey.

Risk and consent

  • Possible ethical issues arising from this research are that the participant may experience distress  from  discussing issues related to mental health problems – however, during the interview, you will be asked to talk about what you feel comfortable in telling me and I will not push you to discuss things which are very difficult unless you agree I can.
  • If the researchers have concerns for the women’s’ safety or that of their family, the Surrey and Borders Partnership Safeguarding of Adults and Children policies will be followed.


  • If you decide to take part in the study  you will need to provide some personal details about you to help me contact you. These details will be stored securely  on memory stick in a locked cabinet. During the interview I will be asking your permission to record our conversation to help me remember what you say and so that I can analyse what you say carefully. If at any time during the interview you decide that you do not wish to continue you can let me know and the recoding of the discussion can be deleted. After the interview if you think that you do not wish you thoughts to be part of the study you can contact me and the data will be removed. This will be possible until the point when I am analysing the data and writing up the project.
  • The recordings of the interviews will be anonymised by labelling each with a participant number, with only the researcher having a list of which name corresponds to which number. The two lists will be kept separately to avoid anyone being able to make a connection . The recordings will be kept securely on a password-protected memory stick. The recording will be transcribed by the researcher but should there be a need to have the transcription undertaken by an agency the identifying material will be removed from the transcript. The  transcriber will sign a confidentiality agreement. To help maintain confidentiality you will also be asked to refrain from naming your male partners in full..
  • The study is important and the finding will need to be published to help the public and professionals understand what they can do to help men access services. Your identity in this written document will remain anonymous.


About the researcher

I’m Lauren Rooney, a Trainee Clinical Psychologist studying at The University of Surrey in Guildford. My interest in men’s mental health began when I was working as an Assistant Psychologist in 2010 with men who were caring for their partners with Multiple Sclerosis. It became clear that the men were not being supported with the carer burden and were reluctant to seek professional help for their mental health.

If you have any questions or would like to contact me, email l.rooney@surrey.ac.uk

This research is being supervised by Mary John and Linda Morison, Senior Lecturers at The University of Surrey.