“While broadly speaking, mental illness does not discriminate across gender, the tendency to seek help for mental illness does.”

For Movember, a global annual event to raise awareness of men’s health issues, we hosted a Digital Drop-In focusing on digital tools for men’s mental health. More than 6 million men experience depression each year, and men are almost 4 times more likely to die by suicide than women. According to Mental Health America, men are less likely than women to seek help for mental health challenges such as depression and stressful life events. This may be due to social norms, a reluctance to talk, and a tendency to downplay symptoms.

Digital tools may provide at least one avenue to better supporting men’s mental health. A recent Washington Post article suggests that apps can be ‘an important gateway to mental health’ for men. Some of the features that seem to appeal to men include the ability to use these tools discretely and anonymously. Dr Vaile Wright, of the American Psychological Association, is quoted in this article as saying that online help provides a “less intimidating entry to mental health,” providing an opportunity to support for men who may never reached out for help before.

We were thrilled to have Trip Starkey and Thomas Vossler of Man Therapy join us for our drop-in. Man Therapy is an online resource hub which uses humor to provide support and information to men on a range of topics, including depression, anxiety, substance use, anger, relationships and sex, and many more. Below, Trip and Thomas share more about Man Therapy and how it can help men with their mental health and wellness.

What is Man Therapy and how can it help? — Trip Starkey & Thomas Vossler

Man Therapy was developed to show men that talking about problems and seeking help is masculine, like bull riding or changing the oil on a ‘79 Ford. As an interactive digital experience, Man Therapy talks to guys like guys talk to guys, with taglines like “It’s a physical for your feelings, but you get to keep your pants on,” or “Therapy, from the creators of pork chops and fighter jets.” The site uses humor to disarm and shrink stigma, making mental health approachable, and far less risky for the hardest to reach men. It’s therapy, with a side of bacon.

On the site, men meet fictional therapist Dr. Rich Mahogany, a no-nonsense man’s man who asserts that honest talk about problems is how to start solving them. Men can take the 20-point head inspection to learn about areas that might need a tune-up, connect with manly mental health tools, and access a bank of resources to take action. Through our Gentlemental Health cards that take a deep dive into life’s more challenging areas (depression, anxiety, difficult transitions, sleep), our proprietary one-on-none therapy cards that give manly suggestions to engage with well-being, and our Did You Know? and Question cards, Man Therapy provides a comprehensive and actionable approach to normalizing difficult mental health subjects for men.

Man Therapy’s innovative approach has seen over 1.4 million web sessions, 400,000+ completed head inspections, and over 40,000 men connected directly to a crisis line resource. Facebook’s safety team used it to reach high-risk men, resulting in one of its most successful media campaigns ever. Additionally, the CDC-funded a $1.28 million, 4-year study in the state of Michigan with encouraging results that are set to be published in 2022. 

Metrics-based results are great, but nothing matters more than the direct messages we get from men and their loved ones about how Man Therapy helped them, like Joe R. who stumbled across Man Therapy while he was feeling “depressed and desperate” and claimed: “It saved my life that night.”

 If you’re interested in being part of more conversations on digital mental health, we’d love for you to join us! See all of our upcoming events here.