When it comes to changing the conversation about mental health (as well as any seismic societal change), it is always a good practice to learn from those who have had success in doing so. One example is ManTherapy.org, an internationally acclaimed, evidence-based campaign that decreases stigma and increases the likelihood of men engaging in their own mental health. This campaign was developed right in our own backyard with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The following is a piece written by Joe Conrad, one of the founders of Man Therapy.org highlighting its unique approach, lessons learned, and how to make the most of the free, confidential site to support men in our lives.
It’s that time of year when men turn their attention to getting the house ready for winter, trimming back the plants, giving the lawn a final cut for the year and blowing out the sprinkler system. What a perfect time to also pay some long overdue attention to our mental health, making sure we are in tip-top shape for the coming winter and whatever challenges lie ahead.
Man Therapy is a men’s mental health campaign that takes a no BS, straightforward and humorous approach to a serious subject. At ManTherapy.org, men can explore the issues and feelings they may be dealing with and learn more about topics like anxiety, anger, depression and even suicidal thoughts. The therapist in residence is Dr. Rich Mahogany –– part doctor, part football coach and 100 percent action hero who is committed to helping men lead happier and healthier lives. He reminds men that taking care of their mental health is the manliest thing a man can do.
When you arrive at ManTherapy.org, you are greeted by Dr. Rich who tells you about all the tools and resources you can find in his office. If you choose to take the 20-point head inspection, Dr. Rich will encourage you to be honest with yourself and your answers. The head inspection covers a broad range of men’s mental health issues and only takes 5 minutes to complete. From there, Dr. Rich tabulates your results and gives you some personal advice on how to take action and take charge of your mental health. He points you to specific information and resources that will help you take some steps in the right direction.
Guys can also hear stories directly from other men about the trials and triumphs they have had along their journey. And men can connect directly to a wide range of useful content and resources, including on-the-ground resources right in their community to support any type of challenges they may be facing, including job training and placement, food, housing, counseling and every other type of support they might need.
Since Man Therapy launched in 2012 in Colorado, more than 1.5 million men have visited the site and more than 400,000 have completed the 20-point head inspection. Created by Cactus and Grit Digital Health, Man Therapy has developed a cult-following in the mental health world and a clinical study sponsored by the CDC found that Man Therapy helps increase help-seeking behavior and reduces suicidal ideation in working-age men.
By Joseph Conrad, Founder and CEO at Grit Digital Health