Name of Innovative Program:
Cactus, Carson J. Spencer Foundation, & Office of Suicide Prevention
Name of Innovative Program Lead:
E-mail Address of Innovative Program Lead:
Working aged men account for the largest number of suicide deaths in Colorado. Unfortunately, they rarely seek help. They believe that mental health issues are unmanly signs of weakness. The Man Therapy campaign provides men, and their loved ones, a place to learn more about men’s mental health, examine their own situation and consider a wide array of actions that will put them on the path to treatment and recovery. Divorce, unemployment, PTSD, concussions, depression, substance abuse or other personal and mental health issues, when gone unchecked or untreated, can become dangerous. The centerpiece of the campaign is the mantherapy.org website which features a fictitious therapist, Dr. Rich Mahogany. He uses humor to provide men with information and facts, to teach them ways to feel better and to show them that talking about their mental health is one of the manliest things a man can do.
Creativity and Innovation:
Man Therapy™ offers a new approach to suicide prevention and other men’s mental health issues. The campaign 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. Man Therapy features our hero, 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 nonsense approach and practical advice for men. Dr. Mahogany is dedicated having men take charge of their own mental health and smashing the stigma that seeking help is a sign of weakness. The centerpiece is the mantherapy.org website, where men and their loved ones will find they have a virtual appointment with Dr. Mahogany. Visitors can navigate through Dr. Mahogany’s office where they can find useful information about men’s mental health.
Three aspects of this campaign leverage influence unlike many other campaigns. First, the campaign is developed by a tri-sector partnership – a private advertising agency, a governmental public health department and a nonprofit suicide prevention organization. Because of this collaboration, the reach and credibility of the program extends greatly. Second, because of the unique approach, the campaign has been able to attract significant traditional and social media attention at the highest levels (e.g., New York Times and Colorado Public Radio), which in turn helps to change conversations people are having about these challenging topics. Finally, because the campaign is so bold and courageously helps men share their stories, leaders like Colorado’s Governor Hickenlooper and former Governor Ritter have participated in speaking at our events, sharing their stories of personal impact and calling other leaders to action.
Several methods have been used to ensure sustainability. First, Colorado’s Office of Suicide Prevention offered 11 community grants to coalitions around the state reaching 26 counties. The goal of these grants is to help increase awareness about the campaign through town hall meetings and media engagement and to build capacity of community leaders through suicide prevention gatekeeper training. Second, the partners of the Man Therapy project have developed a partnership licensing agreement to help bring the campaign to entities outside of Colorado. Through this licensing agreement we can customize resources to local needs and help local stakeholders learn how best to implement a fully-integrated media campaign. Finally, each year we hold a celebratory “Guys’ Night Out” to bring men together to stand in solidarity on the issue of mental health. This event raises funds for the campaign and creates a strong sense of community around this issue.
The Man Therapy campaign was created to be shared with other states, cities and organizations around the U.S. that are working to prevent suicide with a proactive approach to improving men’s mental health. It has been created so it can be implemented in local communities quickly and easily. States and organizations can license the campaign and will gain access to a wide variety of turn-key marketing tools. To support local outreach efforts, an integrated marketing communications toolkit was created, and includes implementation playbooks, a 30-second TV PSA, three viral videos, PR and social media programs, billboards, bus shelters, online banner ads and community outreach materials including posters, coasters and Dr. Mahogany’s business card.
Mantherapy.org has an average of 1,000 unique visitors per day and 154,500 total unique visitors with an average of dwell time of six minutes. 21,400 people have taken the quiz and been given advice and therapy actions to consider. For more detailed analysis of the website, pop-up questions are served after someone spends one minute on each of the walls. The questions provide data on the experience and the usefulness of the content. Since implementation 676 people have provided feedback. After completion of the 18-point quiz 429 people have said the likelihood they will take action on the recommendations. For more in depth feedback we have an evaluation which includes a one and three-month follow-up component designed to measure whether the website contributed to positive behavior change among our target audience of working age men visiting the site. To date we have received about 140 responses to this survey.