The perception of clinical depression amongst Black male University students in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.
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The global and local prevalence of depression and suicide is increasing, particularly among men. However, in South Africa, particularly in black males in tertiary institutions there still remains a paucity of information in the area of depression and experiences of hegemonic masculinities. The research design adopted in this study is qualitative in nature and draws from 12 semi-structured in-depth interviews conducted with male students at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal. The data was thematically analysed and coded to present a comprehensive analysis. Results: Participants articulated their personal identity as strongly influenced by hegemonic norms of masculinity such as strength, success, dominance and control. This identity was shaped by parents, particularly fathers, family members and peers. This hegemonic masculine identity, alongside the typical belief that clinical depression was a predominantly feeling of sadness that could be overcome by the individual on their own, meant that there was little recognition of the importance of professional help in overcoming the condition. Participants discussed externalising behaviours such as substance use and sexual activity to reduce these feelings. Positive coping mechanisms were creative recreational activities and seeking solace in religious or spiritual practices. Conclusion: There is a need to increase awareness around depression and address attitudes and externalising behaviours that circumvent seeking professional help.