Depression and humour are not common bedfellows, but BeyondBlue is courting laughter in its new “ballsy” campaign to tell men it is manly to think about their mental health.
A “straight talking, irreverent, man’s man” character, ‘Dr Brian Ironwood’, fronts the Man Therapy campaign and microsite in an effort to weaken the association between depression and weakness among men.
Anxiety and depression rates are higher in women than men; however men are less likely to seek help.
Only 27% of men with mental health issues seek help compared to 40% of women, ABS data revealed.
Men are also three times more likely to die from suicide than women, with more than 1720 men dying from suicide in 2011.
Federal Mental Health Minister Mark Butler said: “We know from the ABS that the number of men who died by suicide in 2011 is almost twice the number who died on the roads that year which means suicide currently ranks as the biggest killer of Australian males aged between 15 and 44.”
The multi-million dollar campaign has been funded entirely by the Federal Government and is based on a US program by the Colorado Office of Suicide Prevention.
The campaign, which launched last year, has been recreated for the local market by advertising agency Marmalade.
TV, radio and print activities are included in the campaign activity alongside the mantherapy.org.au site where Dr Brian Ironwood will guide visitors through activities and answer frequently asked questions.
Dr Ironwood also has a Twitter account which can be found with @DrBrianIronwood.
Dr Ironwood is a “quintessentially Aussie bloke”, the only difference being that he understands the importance of good mental health, BeyondBlue CEO Kate Carnell said.
“We hope Man Therapy will not only improve understanding of depression and anxiety, but reduce embarrassment and shame, which can often stop men talking about how they’re feeling and stop them taking action.”
Man Therapy comes after the launch of BeyondBlue’s $2m Get to Know Anxiety (below) campaign in May.
The centrepiece of the campaign featured a short film starring Australian actor Ben Mendelsohn.
In the eerie piece Mendelsohn is the “personification of anxiety” where he threateningly introduces the symptoms of anxiety.