BA is a proven talking treatment that is cheaper and easier to deliver than most types of psychological treatment. In BA, people are supported to develop their own treatment plan to reinstate actions or behaviours that connect them to activities they may have enjoyed or valued in the past. ‘Avoidance behaviour’ can often be an issue where men avoid certain activities such as seeing friends or putting tasks off. These are behaviours men may use to cope but which has the opposite effect of making low mood or anxiety worse. This can become a cycle that is hard to break. BA tackles avoidance behaviour to stop these negative patterns and improve mental wellbeing.
We have developed a self-help booklet tailored specifically for men who are working on the NHS frontline, based on Behavioural Activation principles.
BA is particularly suited for adaptation as a gender-sensitive intervention because of its practical, action-oriented strategies that are consistent with a strengths-based masculinities approach, aiming to reinforce men's sense of autonomy, control and independence.
The evidence for use of BA as an early intervention in people without a formal mental health diagnosis is strong. The UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidance (NICE 2009) recommends BA as a treatment option for adults with subthreshold depressive symptoms (i.e. those symptoms which fall below the criteria for diagnosis) to prevent the development of mental ill health.