Scattergood Foundation

Advancing Innovative Strategies for Change in Behavioral Health

Cactus

Name of Innovative Program: 
Man Therapy
Sponsoring Organization
Cactus
Name of Innovative Program Lead: 
Joe Conrad
E-mail Address of Innovative Program Lead: 
april@cactusdenver.com
Physical Address of Innovative Program: 
2128 15th Street
Project Description: 

Throughout the world, working-age men avoid seeking help for their mental health issues. And, in times of economic and cultural stress, the issue of mental health takes on a much higher profile, although there are still few resources at-hand to address this issue.

Man Therapy is a groundbreaking digital approach to mental health that applies humor to tackle the alarming suicide rate among working-age males in our country. By focusing Man Therapy on reaching those men not yet in crisis, and helping educate them to recognize the signs and physical manifestations of stress, we present “getting help” as non-threatening and masculine. To date, Man Therapy has reached more than 800,000 users.

Man Therapy reshapes the conversation, using humor to cut through stigma and tackle issues like depression, even suicidal thoughts head on, the way a man would do it. Man Therapy brings mental health into the digital age by providing 24/7 access to resources and life-saving therapies.

 

How does the innovative program work to improve behavioral health access?: 

Approximately one in five Americans over the age of 18 struggle with mental health issues on a yearly basis, and yet our healthcare infrastructure fails to fully support them. We also know that working-age men (25-54 years old) are four times more likely to die by suicide than women and account for the largest number of suicide deaths in the U.S. And yet these men are also the least likely to receive any kind of support. Man Therapy can help alleviate this burden by not only making therapy more approachable using humor, but also by connecting working age men with the content and resources most relevant to their needs.

How does the innovative program work to improve behavioral health quality? : 

Man Therapy was developed through a unique non-profit, public and private partnership between the Carson J. Spencer Foundation, the Colorado Office of Suicide Prevention, and Cactus, a Denver-based advertising agency. All three are leaders in their own fields, and together, were able to develop an innovative, proven resource. Additionally, Man Therapy has aligned with strategic partners like Prevail Health (online cognitive behavioral therapy), the National Suicide Prevention Hotline and HelpPro (provider locator service) to ensure that users are connected to a multitude of options for quality care. Content and partner services are included in Man Therapy based on research and evidence that support these approaches as suicide prevention best practices.

How does the innovative program work to address behavioral health costs? : 

To help eliminate one of the major barriers to entry for men to get help for their mental health, Man Therapy was created on the premise that it would be free for end users. The majority of content and services are free, with the exception of a few partner offerings (e.g., teletherapy) that end users can opt into. To accomplish this, the Man Therapy team developed a licensing model that allows communities, organizations and statewide coalitions to purchase the rights to the campaign and customize with local resources. Man Therapy is an affordable option for local communities to extend their mental health service offerings. As a 501c(3) organization, the licensing fees are reinvested back into supporting program initiatives and growth.

Creativity and Innovation: 

Man Therapy is a therapy resource that removes the mental health language, at least initially. At-risk men are not seeing their problems through a mental health lens, so communication like, “if you are depressed, seek help,” was not effective. Instead, Man Therapy offers messaging that takes a light-hearted approach and even pokes fun at traditional therapy.

Users have a virtual appointment with Dr. Rich Mahogany – a fictional therapist who is part doctor, football coach and 100% action hero. Dr. Mahogany is dedicated to cutting through the denial with a fresh approach using his rapier wit, odd sense of humor, straightforward approach and practical, useful advice for men.

Dr. Rich Mahogany stars in witty, sharable videos featuring a manly approach to topics like cooking, breathing and even yoga. He’s also the lead character for our social media, allowing us to engage in mental health to

Leadership: 

The primary goal is to create social change among men and the general population about mental and overall wellness. We want to empower men to take action and ownership of their mental health, while also aiming to increase help-seeking behavior.

Man Therapy maximizes digital technologies, allowing users free access to therapy 24/7/365. The content helps users start to think about issues that may be related to their mental well-being, and then connects them to take action. Man Therapy is challenging the entire traditional behavioral health infrastructure by meeting men where they are, as well as cutting through the traditional marketing, using humor to get men to think about their mental health.

With an average time on site (six minutes) that exceeds industry standards, Man Therapy is a proven success reaching thousands of men, and sets the bar high for other behavioral health programs.

Sustainability: 

For the past four years, Man Therapy has been able to continually maintain, enhance and expand the campaign components due grant funding and our licensing model. We work directly with organizations, such as state departments of health and human services, behavioral health departments and offices of suicide prevention, to bring mental health services directly to their community. Once a license is established in a given state, Man Therapy resources specific to that geographical area are added and intentionally prioritized for residents based on their activity, habits and search queries on the site. Additionally, licensee partners have access to turnkey marketing for the Man Therapy campaign including advertising, PR and social media assets.

Man Therapy’s multi-agency effort allows us to achieve lasting sustainability as well. Each partner is able to contribute a variety of resources, from monetary value, connections to professional resources and research, and profile among other in

Replicability: 

Man Therapy was created as a comprehensive public education campaign that allows local partners and organizations to bring the campaign to
their community, customize the website with local resources, and implement an integrated, local outreach campaign through our licensing model. To date, Man Therapy has been adopted by seven states, as well as Australia. Additionally, as part of our recent expansion to reach high-risk audiences like military personnel, veterans and first responders, Man Therapy has been applied to groups like the Denver Fire Department. Our goal is to continue to share this important work with other organizations and communities that want to change the stigma around men’s mental health.

Results/Outcomes: 

The Man Therapy campaign has proven highly successful and has garnered a great deal of attention around the world. To date, successes include: 

  • 800,000+ unique worldwide website visitors and a six minute average time on site
  • 85,000+ men have taken the Head Inspection and received suggestions for therapy
  • At least 21 percent year-over-year growth of site traffic
  • More than 60% of surveyed website visitors indicated they would use the information to work on their mental health
  • Participation in the “Dialogue on Men’s Mental Health” at the White House
  • National media coverage and 20 national and international awards for excellence
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