Oral Presentation The 26th International Nursing Philosophy Conference 2023

The experiences of accessing mental health support: A critical discourse analysis (#7)

philip M ferris-day 1
  1. School of Nursing, Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand

Set in rural New Zealand, this presentation outlines PhD research that addresses mental health seeking for men. Fairclough's (2015) Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA), alongside Kendall and Wickham's (1999) Foucauldian Critical Discourse, is used to examine ideology, power, and social relations across divergent social orders within New  Zealand. Drawing on Foucault's theory of power, the study questions the power imbalance that may marginalise men and prevent them from seeking help.


In New Zealand, mental health and support services remain a focus for the government and media. Rural locations have unique challenges, including the need to improve the understanding of factors that hinder accessing mental health services. This study highlights the conditions under which mental health services and support exist and, thus, how alternatives may be possible. The research combines people's experiences, backgrounds, and world perspectives as factors influencing the provision of mental health support.


The study aligns with other research that discourses around masculinity in rural areas emphasise stoicism, self-reliance, and toughness ( Ferris-Day et al., 2021). However, it is questioned that rather than being an impediment, lack of meaningful support and services are the main factors for not seeking help rather than from a 'masculine' positionality. This critical discourse study highlights the need for a more nuanced and inclusive approach to mental health support in rural New Zealand.

  1. Fairclough, N. (2015). Language and power (3 ed.).
  2. Kendall, G., & Wickham, G. (1999). Using Foucault's methods. Sage Publications.
  3. Ferris‐Day, P., Hoare, K., Wilson, R. L., Minton, C., & Donaldson, A. (2021). An integrated review of the barriers and facilitators for accessing and engaging with mental health in a rural setting. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 30(6), 1525-1538. https://doi.org/10.1111/inm.12929