Newcastle researchers are hoping to find out if walk-and-talk style, outdoor therapy could be a better option for men than sitting down inside.

The team includes members from all of the University’s schools and colleges, and is the first internationally to explore the approach.

Dr Myles Young says it’s important we have as many tools as possible to treat mental health issues.

“In Australia, one in eight men will experience depression throughout their life,” he said. “In reality, it’s probably actually quite a bit more, because many men don’t seek help.”

“During COVID alone, the prevalence of depression in Australia increased by about ten percent.”

“Compared to women, men are less likely to seek help for things like depression or low mood, and when they do seek help and go to psychotherapy or counselling, they’re less likely to stick with it all the way through. 

It’s believed taking psychotherapy outside might make men more comfortable to open up, because of the natural environment, less eye contact, and the shared space.

Dr Young says the physical activity can also be great for men doing it tough.

“While we have all this evidence to show it may work, no one’s ever really looked to see if it does work with men,” he said. “It’s possible that it might not be as appealing. No one knows that yet, because no one’s done the research.”

“And we’re not sure not only does it work, but is it something that men find engaging and appealing and will stick with? That’s what we’re really interested to find out through our research.”

The team’s recruiting local blokes to take part until Friday 28 October.

You can find out more by contacting Dr Myles Young at [email protected].