How to Get More Men to Try Therapy

January 27, 2023

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News

The New York Times

Experts are working to tailor mental health supports for men. Compared to women, men are more likely to die by suicide, drug overdose, and alcohol-related causes but are less likely to report receiving mental health treatment. To better understand how to reach men in crisis, suicide prevention experts carried out interviews and focus groups with men who had survived suicide attempts. One key takeaway from those interviews was that many men did not relate to the usual messaging that encourages people to seek help for mental health issues. Participants tended to believe their struggles were caused by life stressors, such as financial hardship or interpersonal conflict, so language about mental illness did not resonate with them. Many also felt that seeking help was in opposition to their socially conditioned role as providers. These insights led to the development of an online public health campaign called Man Therapy, designed to educate, reduce stigma, and provide discreet access to mental health supports. The campaign uses humor and traditional masculine stereotypes to engage men and then encourage them to question whether those gender norms are working for them, said Sally Spencer-Thomas, project lead and president and co-founder of United Suicide Survivors International. A recent evaluation of the campaign suggests it can increase help-seeking behaviors.

Spark Extra! Check out our guide on preventing suicide among middle-aged men.