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Analytical Essay on Campaign “Man Therapy” Based in Colorado

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“Difficult problems require bold solutions.” Is the guiding principle of the campaign “Man Therapy” based in Colorado (Thomas, Hindman, Conrad, 2014,March 10).The initiative; a multidimensional, web-based resource, features a fictional therapist as its core. The fake therapist goes in the name of Dr. Rich Mahogany. His character is performed by John Arp who portrays “, an affable, mustachioed, middle-aged man whose personality might be described as Dr. Phil meets Ron Burgundy, Will Ferrell’s fictional anchorman.” (Thomas, Hindman, Conrad, 2014, March 10).

The first five years of the project (2007-‐Spring 2011) were dedicated to research and development through multiple focus groups and in-‐depth interviews. On the 9th of July, 2012, an article was launched in the New York Times, thus drawing national attention and with time accomplishing International awards for its creative use of media in health awareness.

The campaign makes use of videos featuring the fake therapist in his office, surrounded with objects like “a mounted moose head, ax and baseball trophies.” These videos are accessible on the website of

Organizations executing the campaign

The initiative is the outcome of a partnership established in 2007 between a public institution in the name of Cactus-a nationally recognized; full service brand communication and advertising agency in Denver, a nonprofit organization called Carson J Spencer Foundation established in 2005 and The Office of Suicide Prevention at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment; a private leading entity statewide for suicide prevention. The organizations received aid in June 2011 from Anschutz Foundation for the development and implementation of the concept during the research and development phase (Newman, A.A, 2012, July 8).

Purpose of the campaign

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Colorado along with New Mexico has the 6th highest suicide rate in the country. Working-age men around the age of 25-54 avoid seeking help for their mental health issues. Consequently, these men account for 4 out of every 5 suicides. Research shows that by the time a man is in crisis he perceives few options for help as acceptable, so by the time a man recognizes that he is in need of help, it’s too late.

“The stigma around mental health for men is even greater than it is for the general population,” (Conrad; Cactus 2008)

It has been observed that previously, the mental health campaigns targeting men have been unproductive due to which, the co-‐founders of the campaign made an premediated decision to flagrantly find a way to reach “double jeopardy” men –those having a high chance for suicide and most unlikely to seek care themselves (Thomas, Hindman, Conrad, 2014, March 10).

Hence, the main purpose of this therapy is “to provide men, and their loved ones, a place to learn more about men’s mental health, to examine their own wellness and to consider a wide array of actions designed to put them on the path to treatment and recovery.” It aims at putting forward a message of awareness for men regarding their mental health and to treat it as though it was a physical injury.

The initiative tries to change the social standards among men and the society regarding mental health. It tries to inhibit a help-seeking behavior in men and in the longer run, reduce the rates of suicidal cases and idealization of death among men.

Strategies Used During The Campaign

The campaign makes use of various strategies in order to create awareness and reach out to maximum number of people. It decided to go upstream and reach men before they reached a point of crisis, by breaking down barriers of stigma. They made use of the same strategy men use to broach uncomfortable topics with one another: humor.

The fictional therapist Dr.Mahogany, strategically uses maladaptive ideas of masculinity to bridge to new ideas that help men reshape the conversation of mental health, often using dark humor to cut through stigma and tackle issues like depression, divorce and suicidal thoughts head on. The very feeling of humor and lightness makes the client relaxed and interactive.

Once the client completes his survey, the therapist with a very welcoming, calm but concerned tone helps the client to gain clarity. Although it is a prerecorded speech, yet it turns out to be very reassuring. It makes him feel as though the ‘virtual’ counselor actually cares about the client and that makes him much more comfortable addressing his issues.

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Many men suffer from attention deficits which can create the need for the visual stimulation provided by the video on the homepage. This spreads the message faster, than relying on someone who might not have the patience to read.

The therapist also offers men time-‐limited, skills mastery programs to help relieve stress and conquer many other behavioral and health challenges. Man Therapy also provides e-Cards which contain comforting words, giving participants to send the cards to those struggling with mental health. Finally, Man Therapy assists with crisis response by connecting those in need to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

In addition to therapy and billboards, the campaign also makes use of restroom posters and drink coasters promoting to try to reach men drowning their sorrows in bars. (Newman, A.A, 2012, July 8) “Funny ads for products like erectile dysfunction drugs demonstrated that humor suited difficult topics” (Hindman, 2014, March 10)

Thus, when a man engages with Man Therapy, he first learns to changes his attitude toward mental health concerns and suicidal behavior and then his behavior changes in ways that decrease these problems (Thomas, Hindman, Conrad, 2014, March 10).

Challenges Faced During The Campaign

In the initial phase, the main challenges were to overcome the concerns of the mental health community regarding the usage of humor for a serious topic like suicide.

In the research phase, there was also discouragement seen from those supporting the men’s movement, calling the campaign very stereotypical of masculinity.

The man challenge was not only the awareness of mental health, but also to change the behavior of men by reaching out to them through the therapist.

Other issues such as technological problems during the survey or offensive questions caused slight discouragement amongst the clients.


The campaign has achieved over 900,000 visits to, more than More than 250,000 men have taken the website’s 20-Point Head Inspection (a mental health self-evaluation). More than 35,000 men have directly accessed the website’s crisis line and tools. Nearly 20,000 people had made use of “worried about someone” option. Over dozens of letters, voicemails and emails from men sharing their experience of how this saved their lives were received at The pop-up survey found that 83 percent of visitors would recommend the site to a friend in need, and 51 percent agreed or strongly agreed that they were more likely to seek help after visiting the site.

The campaign has gained International recognition and has won several Awards in the past few years. An Australian version of Man Therapy was also launched in 2013, in partnership with beyond blue.


The campaign should through licensing spread across different countries, media assets, and educational institutes to gain exposure and reach out to maximum number of people

It is further suggested that the videos should be multi-lingual in nature. A tie up with various psychologist who make use of psychotherapy should be considered when the cases are extreme.

Other than having posters, there should be a group of people for example at bars who could slip out the card or engage one in a conversation and market the website.


  1. (2012/07/09) a-humorous-approach-to-grim-issue-of-suicide-prevention.
  2. Sally Spencer Thomas, Jarrod Hindman, Joe Conrad (2014/ 3/10) “Man Therapy
  3. “health-communication-campaigns”
  5. Beyond Blue (2015/1/25) “Man Therapy”
  6. “Working-age men around the age of 25-54 avoid seeking help for their mental health issues. Consequently, these men account for 4 out of every 5 suicides. Research shows that by the time a man is in crisis he perceives few options for help as acceptable, so by the time a man recognizes that he is in need of help, it’s too late.”
  8. Newman, A.A (2012, July 8) “A light Approach to a Grim Issue: Suicide Prevention” The New York Times;

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Analytical Essay on Campaign “Man Therapy” Based in Colorado. (2022, July 14). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 4, 2023, from
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