Colorado-Based Mental Health Website Targeting Young Males Through Humor

Emotional military man consoled by peer, horizontalDepression and suicide aren’t exactly fun things to talk about, but one mental health organization founded in Colorado is having success by using a humorous approach to reach young American males.

According to The Daily Beast, visitors to ManTherapy.org are greeted by the fictional Dr. Rich Mahogany, a “man’s man” sporting a thick mustache and short shorts, sitting in an office surrounded by leather furniture and sports memorabilia.

While the set-up is quite whimsical, Mahogany’s discussion topics are far from light-hearted. Man Therapy is a 24/7 online resource that encourages young men to seek treatment for mental health issues who may not ordinarily do so.

“We’ll be getting off our keisters and form-tackling feelings like anger, sadness, substance abuse, and even suicidal thoughts head on!” Mahogany tells visitors to the website.

Tackling mental health head-on isn’t easy for many young American men. More than 80% of depressed individuals do not seek professional help for their condition, and a large majority of those people are young men who believe they have nowhere to turn, or who feel shame in admitting they may need treatment.

Man Therapy launched in 2012 after partnering with Colorado’s public health department and Cactus, a Denver-based marketing agency that specializes in public health campaigns.

Joe Conrad, founder and CEO of Cactus, believes that many young men don’t seek help for their mental health issues because these conditions are still grossly misunderstood by the American public.

“There’s a stigma around mental health and suicide, especially among men,” said Conrad. “And we wanted to build a bridge to get people talking about it through humor and technology.”

According to the Suicide Awareness Voices of Education, suicide among males in the U.S. is four times higher than among females, despite women experiencing depression at about two times the rate of men.

The website features an 18-point “Head Inspection” that assesses a visitor’s sleeping habits, sexual appetite, and general mood. Users are then given a report card that provides tips and resources for treatment based on the results.

Over 85,000 visitors to Man Therapy’s website have already completed the “Head Inspection,” and Conrad says that over 15% of users have gone on to seek treatment after receiving their report card.

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