GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.-
A new humor-based website targeted strictly toward men is helping them overcome certain mental health barriers.
Man Therapy is an interactive new approach to tackle the stigma that seeking help isn't "manly."
The Colorado-based suicide prevention campaign showcases “Dr. Rich Mahogany,” a brawny-like man who acts as a therapist and guide of the website.
“It’s the best thing we have come up with in a while to communicate with men in an effective way,” said Karen Levad, executive director of the Western Colorado Suicide Prevention Foundation.
The online tool targets men ages 25 to 54; it's a group that, according to the Western Colorado Suicide Prevention Foundation, is the least likely to seek help.
“It’s really ingrained in a lot of masculine culture to kind of buck up and kind of pull yourself up by your boot straps,” said Sally Spencer-Thomas, co-founder of Man Therapy. “There’s sort of a lot of conditioning that really prevents men from getting the help they need earlier on in the process.”
The most recent studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that nearly 43 percent of suicide deaths in a year are among these working-age men, and they account for the most deaths by suicide of any age group in Colorado.
According to officials from the Western Colorado Suicide Prevention Foundation, the suicide rate in Western Colorado is nearly three times higher than the national average.
“In Western Colorado, we have a suicide rate of 34.4 per 100,000, compared to the national rate of 12 per 100,000,” said Levad.
Levad adds that men are four times more likely to die by suicide than women.
“Too many of them are depressed, too many of them are anxious and too many of them isolate themselves,” said Levad. “This is a way to really understand that it's a good thing to reach out.”
The website has already had nearly 80,000 visitors since its launch on July 9.
Site visitors can take an “18-point head inspection,” watch interactive videos about men who have risen above difficult challenges, and above all, realize they can still be “manly” while finding ways to seek help.
To access the site, click here.