Facilitators of, barriers to, and preferences for e-mental health interventions for depression and anxiety in men: Metasynthesis and recommendations

Melissa J. Opozda, Melissa Oxlad, Deborah Turnbull, Himanshu Gupta, James A. Smith, Samuel Ziesing, Murray E. Nankivell, Gary Wittert

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
27 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Little is known about men's use of online mental health (eMH) interventions and factors that promote their engagement or attrition. We aimed to synthesise the qualitative literature on men's preferences for, attitudes towards, and experiences of using eMH interventions for depression and anxiety, and develop recommendations from the findings. 

Method: Systematic searches were conducted (Jan 2000-Oct 2020) in six databases; study quality was assessed using Qualsyst with a minimum total of 0.55 required for inclusion. Extracted data were synthesised using meta-aggregation. 

Results: Eight studies met inclusion criteria and three synthesised findings were generated. (1) Facilitators of men's eMH use: finding apps and technology motivating and convenient, support and encouragement from important others, and interventions allowing men to take action, gain control over their mental health, and resulting in positive outcomes; (2) Barriers to men's eMH use: lack of free time, predicted or experienced lack of benefit from use, and technical difficulties; (3) What men want in eMH: personalised, tailored, relevant interventions that are bright and easy to use, with information presented in multiple formats, psychoeducation, exercises, self-monitoring, information on further resources, and the option of clinician involvement, without any repetitive questioning, boring tools, or negative feedback. 

Limitations: All included studies were conducted in high income, ‘Western’ countries; most data related to experiences of using an existing eMH intervention within a trial, rather than in ‘real world’ settings where eMH acceptability is generally lower and experiences may differ. 

Conclusions: Practice, research, and policy recommendations are presented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-87
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Early online date8 Nov 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2024


  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • E-mental health
  • Men
  • Meta-synthesis
  • Qualitative


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