Man Therapy, a groundbreaking new approach to suicide prevention and other men’s mental health issues, was launched in Colorado. Man Therapy reshapes the conversation, using humor to cut through stigma and tackle issues like depression, divorce and even suicidal thoughts head on, the way a man would do it.
The campaign is the result of a unique partnership between Cactus, a Denver-based advertising agency, the Office of Suicide Prevention at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the Carson J Spencer Foundation, a Colorado suicide prevention nonprofit organization.
“Colorado currently has the 6th highest suicide rate in the nation,” notes Jarrod Hindman, director of Colorado’s Office of Suicide Prevention. “Men between the ages of 25 and 54 represent a significant portion of suicide deaths in the state, and the numbers are on the rise. It is clear that we have to do something to target this difficult to reach audience.”
The purpose of the Man Therapy campaign is to provide men approaching crisis, and their loved ones, a place to go and learn more about men’s mental health, examine their own and consider a wide array of actions that will put them on the path to treatment and recovery. The message is that all men should be aware of their mental health, treat it like they would a broken leg and strive to get better.
“Man Therapy features our hero, the good Dr. Rich Mahogany. He’s a man’s man who is dedicated to cutting through the denial with a fresh approach using his rapier wit, odd sense of humor, no bullshit approach and practical advice for men,” said Joe Conrad, Cactus founder and strategic director. “There exists an age-old stigma that says mental health disorders are unmanly signs of weakness. And our main character and hero, Dr. Rich Mahogany, is dedicated to smashing that.”
The centerpiece of the campaign is the mantherapy.org website, where men and their loved ones will find they have a virtual appointment with Dr. Mahogany. He greets visitors, makes them feel at ease and then provides an overview of what they will find and explore during their visit.
From there, visitors can navigate through Dr. Mahogany’s office where they can find useful information about men’s mental health including a guy’s guide to Gentlemental Health™. Men can choose to take an 18-question quiz to evaluate their own mental health status. They can also access resources and explore a wide range of choices from do-it-yourself tips to professional therapist referrals. Additional resources include links to local support groups as well as a national suicide crisis line that is ever present on the site.
“This campaign goes beyond just awareness to really engage men and draw them into the conversation,” noted Sally Spencer Thomas, psychologist and CEO of Carson J Spencer Foundation. “It teaches them about men’s mental health and encourages them with options ranging from do it yourself techniques all the way to professional therapy and resources.”
Initial funding for the project was provided through a grant from The Anschutz Foundation to help develop the campaign. Promotional partners include Kroenke Sports Charities and their teams including the Colorado Avalanche, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Rapids and Colorado Mammoth. Media promotional partners include Altitude Sports and Entertainment, Comcast and Charter Media.
In addition to the engaging experience viewers can find at mantherapy.org, the integrated communications campaign also includes a 30-second TV PSA, three viral videos, social media promotions, outdoor boards and outreach materials including posters, coasters and Dr. Mahogany’s business card for partners who will distribute materials throughout Colorado.
High-resolution campaign assets including the PSA, posters, images and videos are available for download at mantherapy.org/mediakit. Interviews with men who have struggled with suicidal thoughts and those who have lost loved ones to suicide, as well as Joe Conrad, founder and CEO of Cactus, Jarrod Hindman from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Office of Suicide Prevention, and Sally Spencer Thomas of Carson J Spencer Foundation, are available upon request.
Cactus is a full-service brand communications agency providing business solutions for companies and causes through brand strategy, advertising, design, interactive and media services. Cactus has been nationally recognized for its breakthrough creative executions by The One Show, Communication Arts, The Webby Awards, South by Southwest, Favourite Website Awards, Advertising Age, Creativity and Print’s Regional Design Annual. To learn more about Cactus, visit http://www.sharpideas.com.
Office of Suicide Prevention –– CDPHE
The Office of Suicide Prevention, a legislatively mandated entity of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, serves as the lead entity for statewide suicide prevention and intervention efforts, collaborating with Colorado communities to reduce the number of suicide deaths and attempts in the state. To learn more about the Office, visit www.coosp.org.
Carson J Spencer Foundation
The Carson J Spencer Foundation is a Colorado-based 501(c)(3) organization which delivers innovative and effective suicide prevention programs for working-aged people, coaches young leaders to develop social enterprises for mental health promotion and suicide prevention, and supports people bereaved by suicide. www.CarsonJSpencer.org