‘Man Therapy’ campaign uses humor to reduce stigma surrounding men and getting help

Posted at 9:51 PM, Oct 28, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-28 23:51:40-04

SALT LAKE CITY - Using comedy, and bleeped out obscenities, videos offer tips for men on how to handle real life problems like breakups and lay-offs. It's the latest tool being used by the Utah Suicide Prevention Coalition in a campaign called "Man Therapy."

"The goal of these videos is to use humor to draw men to our website," said Kim Gardner with the National Alliance on Mental Illness. "We have talked to men who said laughter is OK, we like that."

According to the Department of Health, Utah is one of the top five states in the country for suicides, with men accounting for 75 percent of the demographic. Health officials say part of the reason why the numbers are so high for men is because they are less likely to seek help for depression or suicidal thoughts.

"It can be seen as less manly, or weak," Gardner said.

That's where this Man Therapy campaign comes in. The videos use humor to try to draw men to the website, and to curb the stigma.

"They're funny," said Sam Alsultani, a Salt Lake resident being shown the videos for the first time. "It would help draw me to the website if I needed help."

"It kinda draws you in," said Retired Sergeant Josh Hansen of the Army Reserve. Sgt Hansen completed two tours of duty in Iraq and said returning home was difficult.

"I wouldn't talk to anyone about my depression," he said. "It makes you feel weak."

Sgt. Hansen has since received help, and now he heads a non-profit organization called Continue Mission, which is geared to helping other vets get out of depression. He admits the humor may not be for everyone, but applauds the Health Departments attempt at reaching men via different methods.

"If it saves just one person, it's going be a complete success in my book," he said.

Utah is not the first state to try out Man Therapy. Based off the success that other states have found using them in the past couple years, Utah decided the time was right to try it locally.

All suicidal thoughts, behaviors, and attempts should be taken seriously.

Get help 24/7 by calling the UNI CrisisLine at (801) 587-3000 or the National Suicide Prevention LifeLine at 1-800-273-TALK.

Help is also available from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

To learn how to tackle life’s stressors and improve your mental health, visit The Utah Suicide Prevention Coalition or Man Therapy.