Rebranding Mens Mental Health: The Trojan Horse, A Bathroom Poster And Embracing The Ands – Forbes

Posted: November 29, 2019 at 8:51 pm


Working aged men account for the largest number of suicide deaths in the U.S., and theyre the least likely to receive any kind of support. In Mind Share Partners Mental Health at Work 2019 Report, women were nearly 40% more likely to have gotten a diagnosis or treatment.

Times are changing. In a recent interview with Mens Health magazine, Patriot Act host Hasan Minhaj shared, Now you have guys like Kevin Love talking about mental health. You watch LeBron meditating and focusing on his breathing on the sidelines. Charlamagne tha God speaking out. Politicians are talking about mental health. All these guys are guys who are functioning at a high level. And organizations like Movembera nonprofit raising awareness around mens health issues such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and men's mental healthare leveraging a Trojan Horse approach where they tackle serious mens health topics through humor, levity and empowerment.


With growing awareness of the unique challenges that menand other communitiesface when it comes to mental health and stigma, a few leaders are approaching and rebranding mens mental health in unique, creative and impactful ways.

Grit Digital Health created the viral campaign and online resource center for mental health and suicide prevention, We spoke to Nathaan Demers, Psy.D, vice-president and director of clinical programs, who shed light on how humor and engaging design is able to reach often hard-to-reach populations like veterans and active military.

In one story, Demers describes: Someone at a National Guard Base saw a Man Therapy poster headline that said Give your mind the same attention you give your penis placed appropriately above a urinal. He turned to his colonel, they had a laugh about it, and then started talking about mental health. In the end, they actually brought that conversation to the whole base and had an amazing working conversation about how they can support the mental health of their entire crew as a result of just seeing that simple poster.

Man Therapy

One of Man Therapys most popular features is a 20-question assessment that screens for behavioral health and suicide riskwhat theyve branded a Head Inspection. In Facebooks feature case study with Man Therapy, 50% of users who saw a Man Therapy ad took action on their siteand half of these completed the Head Inspection, with over 300,000 being completed to date. With the growth of mental health awareness comes a need to segment and meet the unique needs of populations like men and other communities.

We also spoke with cofounder and CEO, Andy Katz-Mayfield, of Harrysa mens care brand. Through a diverse portfolio of charitable contributions, Harrys takes an active approach to their philosophy around mens health. At Harrys, we dont believe that theres only one way to define masculinity. Katz-Mayfield explains. Its something thats ultimately up to each man to decide for himself. Were big advocates of embracing the ands, meaning, for example, that men can be both powerful and sensitive, bold and nurturing, and self-assured and open.


Harrys has donated over $2.4M to mens mental health organizations, with the goal of reaching 500,000 men by 2021. Katz-Mayfield shared, To support the movement more broadly, we work with eight nonprofit partners in total to reach as many specific communities including Veterans, the LGBTQ+ community and young men, all of whom are at greater risk of issues related to mental health. This year, we opened up a volunteer opportunity for employees to sign up to be crisis counselors with Crisis Text Line and The Trevor Project. We now have 10 team members that completed the 30+ hour training and are already taking on texts and calls from those who are in crisis.

Since mental health struggles disproportionately impact men, we knew that supporting this cause had the potential to positively impact the lives of thousands of men in a real way, Katz-Mayfield says.

In an increasingly diverse world, its important to understand the unique experiences of mental health within the male population. We spoke with Zander Keig, a trans, Mexican-American veteran and licensed clinical social worker, to get his insights as a mental health care provider at the intersection of multiple identities.

Keig shared that when one of his colleaguesanother trans mansought care, he was told by his therapist who was femaleto man up. Despite growing up female, his colleagues transition was still met with common stereotypes faced by men. While trans individuals are twice as likely to experience mental health symptoms compared to cisgender respondents based on Mind Share Partners survey, 50% of trans individuals report having to teach their medical providers about transgender care19% were refused care entirely.


For active military and veteranswho face rates of depression five times more often, and PTSD fifteen times more than civiliansthe availability of resources doesnt always mean they are utilized. The Veterans Health Administration and the Department of Defense both offer extensive behavioral health services, Keig explains, But there is the same issue with stigmathat needing services implies weakness, yet seeking services denotes strength.

With growing awareness and knowledge about mens mental health and conversations about diversity broadly, there are increasingly nuanced and complex social and cultural dynamics that complicate the issue. Simultaneously, however, leaders like Movember, Grit Digital Health, and Harrys are stepping in to lead that change. As Katz-Mayfield suggests, In terms of mental health, the sooner society embraces the ands, the faster well destigmatize the conversation around mens mental health, and be able to reach and help the men who need support the most.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.

Bernie Wong is a senior associate at Mind Share Partners, a nonprofit that is changing the culture of workplace mental health.

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Rebranding Mens Mental Health: The Trojan Horse, A Bathroom Poster And Embracing The Ands - Forbes

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