The federal government in Australia has invested in a public awareness campaign aimed at suicide prevention for men. “Man Therapy” introduces humour to the topic of men’s mental health through advertisements on television, radio, print, social media and online. The campaign seeks to address Australia’s male suicide problem which is the leading cause of death for most Australian males aged 15 to 44 years. The number of deaths due to suicide is twice the number of those who died on the roads in 2011, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
The advertisements and website feature ‘Dr. Brian Ironwood’, a no-nonsense character who puts a face to the campaign, and urges men to take charge of their mental health.
An independent public company, beyondblue, which provides national leadership for the awareness, prevention and early intervention of depression and related disorders, has brought the campaign to Australia. “Man Therapy” is based on a similar program launched in the USA last year by the Colorado Office of Suicide Prevention, Cactus Communications and the Carson J Spencer Foundation and has been licensed by beyondblue and recreated by marmalade (Melbourne) for the Australian market.
The Minister of Mental Health and Ageing announced the launch on June 5 in Canberra. The campaign is one of a number of programs the Australian Government has funded as part of a $304 million investment in suicide prevention.