Thursday, March 27, 2014

A Historic Moment in Suicide Prevention: Summit on Lived Experience

Reposted with permission from the American Association of Suicidology

On March 6, 2014, a historic moment occurred in San Francisco. The first ever National Summit on Lived Experience in Suicide Prevention convened – suicide attempts survivors, suicide loss survivors and people representing mental health service systems came together to explore how we can “light the way forward.”

The meeting was hosted by the Mental Health Association of San Francisco with support from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention (“Action Alliance”) and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL). The goal of the meeting was to open up an open and honest conversation about how best to move the goals of the Action Alliance’s Suicide Attempt Survivors Task Force and Zero Suicide Initiative forward with coordination and compassion.

The meeting began with Dr. DeQuincy Lezine sharing an overview of the Suicide Attempt Survivors Task Force soon-to-be released guide for how the suicide prevention field can best incorporate the “lived expertise” of those who have survived their own suicide attempts. 

The guide underscores the importance of real-world wisdom that people gain through surviving and can share with others to guide best practices in research, treatment and prevention efforts. A main message of the document is to include attempt survivors in all areas of suicide prevention – as leaders and in critical masses. In addition to covering key policy, practice and program suggestions, Dr. Lezine described the core values of the task force:
  • Inspire Hope, find meaning and purpose
  • Preserve dignity, counter stigma, stereotypes discrimination
  • Connect people to peer supports
  • Promote community connectedness
  • Engage and support family and friends
  • Respect and support cultural spiritual beliefs and traditions
  • Promote choice and collaboration
  • Provide timely access to care and support
Next David Covington from the Zero Suicide Initiative shared the concept and practices of this high priority focus of the Action Alliance. The Zero Suicide Initiative is a “commitment to suicide prevention in health and behavioral healthcare systems aligned with a specific set of tools and strategies. It advocates for a systematic approach to improve outcomes and fill gaps to relentlessly pursue a reduction in suicide death and calls for visible, vocal and visionary leadership. Additionally, the initiative strives to develop of a competent, confident and caring workforce within behavioral health.

“We believe that suicide is preventable always, up to the last minute,” said Covington. “Let’s create a suicide deterrent system.”

Most of the conversation over the course of the day centered on how these two groups could reduce the fear each has about the other. Suicide attempt survivors expressed fear about being misunderstood, stigmatized, and punished in many forms when trying to access professional care. Mental health providers have fear about not knowing what to do, about getting sued, and about having someone “die on my watch.”

The dialogue continued through the morning and encouraged both groups to look forward and find ways to improve collaboration and understanding. Here are some moving sound bites:

·       “People need to know they can disclose suicidal thoughts and that they will get help, not get punished,” Shari Sinwelski, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
·       “Every attempt survivor should define the support network for himself or herself.”
·       “Emergency care providers need to improve practices to preserve dignity of people in the middle of a suicide crisis.”
·       “Most clinical care work is focused on assessment of risk; we need to shift this focus to collaborative care,” David Covington
·       “The problem is clinicians don’t feel safe and they don’t know what to do,” Shari Sinwelski
·       “To start with a place of assessment creates disconnection,” Leah Harris, National Empowerment Center
·       “Stop assessing the symptoms. When we do that we are working from a deficit model rather than a strength model. Rather than creating a treatment plan create a hope plan and assess for that. Find out what brings meaning and purpose and create a plan for that,” Tom Kelly, Magellan Health Services of Arizona
·       Tom Kelly, “I haven't had a suicide attempt since 2001. Since then I became an advocate, and I developed meaning and purpose.”
·       “How do we fill the middle gap in services when people are not feeling home provides enough support but don’t need inpatient care? Peer support can fill this gap. Right now the system is insufficient – we just evaluate, medicate, vacate,” CW Tillman, Consumer Advocate
·       “Let’s build a strengths-based approach – rather than ‘what’s wrong with you’ shift to ‘what happened to you.’ Let’s provide trauma informed care. Change some primary assumptions,” Leah Harris.
·       “The concept of Zero Suicide is really transformative. I like the fact that people react so strongly to it,” Eduardo Vega, Mental Health Association of San Francisco. “We can take the outlandish out of the picture by saying our goal is that no one in this building kill themselves today. Then we can expand to ‘can we work to stop suicide in this town this week?’”
·       “The field has talked too much about the difference between suicide attempt survivors and those who die by suicide. The intrapsychic experience is the same,” Covington
·       “Over the decades, individual mental health clinicians have made heroic efforts to save lives but systems of care have done very little,” Richard McKeon, SAMHSA.
·       “People who go through training for suicide prevention get increased confidence and change culture within a system. People become less afraid and are more likely to reach out,” Becky Stoll, Centerstone
·       “Suicide prevention has not been informed by peers who have experienced the agony and decision making. They can provide support that can be magic,” Eduardo Vega.
·       “Suicide attempt survivors should not just be a token presence in the conversation of how to prevent suicide. If have 25% each of researchers, care providers, loved ones at the table, we also need 25% attempt survivors. Critical mass offers meaningful input. Like 32 degrees. Below water freezes, above water is just cold,” David Covington
·       “How do we infuse recovery oriented perspectives – a spirit of optimism – in systems of care?” Leah Harris. “How do we focus on what’s strong rather than what’s wrong?”
·       How do we reframe safety from something that is more about the clinician’s need for assurance to something that’s more about connectedness, hope and meaning?

The meeting concluded with a brainstorming session on key messages to promote the goals of these two groups and how we might best invigorate the field around these goals. The following list of ideas emerged:
·       Establish partnerships and communities of support
·       Move beyond fear to optimism
·       Introduce behavioral health professionals to people’s stories of hope and recovery and show the value, “your experience can help me help other people”
·       How do value peers in suicide prevention work? We can pay them well and identify them as leaders/professionals
·       Let’s move behavioral health systems from precontemplation to contemplation and get them to think about, “Maybe the system doesn’t work”
·       Attempting suicide didn’t destroy my life; it transformed it.
·       Sometimes when things make you angry you pay attention. Language matters.
·       Crisis is an opportunity. If in the middle of a transformative moment you are punished, it stops the process in its tracks.
·       Coercion is system failure.
·       People don’t send you flowers and cards when you are in the hospital for a psychiatric condition.
·       “Continuity of care is really about not giving up on someone,” John Draper, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
·       “When we create system change, don’t bolt it on, bake it in. Change will only last as long as there is energy around something. When it is bolted on it won’t stick; baked in means here to stay,” David Covington
·       Board members and other leaders for behavioral health organizations can act as secret shoppers by visiting behavioral health care as undercover bosses. This experience can be eye opening.

·       Ask suicide attempt survivors, “How can we celebrate your survival?”
·       “I am not a lost cause. I am a person.”

The meeting closed with a round robin discussion of what people were taking away from the Summit. Many tears were shed as people disclosed the momentous opportunity created by the shared understanding that commenced on that day.

Winners Announced in Student Entrepreneur Business Plan Competition

The Carson J Spencer Foundation Funds Youth Social Enterprises to Prevent Suicide

Judges for Returning Businesses
Photo: Carly Goldsmith
Denver, Colorado. March 27, 2014. Robert Redford once defined social entrepreneurship as “using business skills to solve social ills.” This year 48 classrooms across the state of Colorado competed in the 6th annual “FIRE Within Business Plan Competition” to do just that. Since the beginning of the school year, entrepreneurship and business leadership classes from Denver, Boulder, Brighton, Colorado Springs, Aurora, Aspen and other areas in the state worked diligently to develop viable businesses that would both make a profit and make a significant community impact. The students are part of an innovative program of the Carson J Spencer Foundation called the FIRE Within that encourages student leaders to develop a product or service that generates revenue while addressing a root cause of student distress.  Because the program has grown so large, this year the competition was divided into two parts: new businesses competition and returning businesses competition. Over 50 business and community leaders volunteered as judges for the competition included representation from Colorado State Bank and Trust, Ireland Stapleton, Women’s Bean Project, Holland & Hart, Denver Fire Department, JVA Consulting and many more.
The returning business competition took place in the board room of Holland & Hart, LLC. Of the returning businesses, the three finalists were Green Mountain High School, Columbine High School and Thomas Jefferson High School. Green Mountain came in 2nd place with an award of $250 for their business idea to create a book called, “Dear Parents from Teens: Top 10 Things We Want You to Know to Help Us Get through Our Adolescence.” Columbine High School took 1st place winning an award of $500 to continue to fund their multi-dimensional business that uses technology and branded lanyards to encourage students to build resilience and reach out to one another during times of struggle.
The new business competition, which took place at Mountain States Employers Council, showcased finalists from Gateway High School, Highlands Ranch High School, and Eagle Ridge Academy. All participating schools had innovative approaches to suicide prevention in their communities but Eagle Ridge Academy took 2nd place with an award of $250 of seed funding and Gateway High School was awarded 1st place and $500 for their business of branded cell phone cases that help students build compassionate communication skills.

For more information about how your community can get involved with the FIRE Within contact Sally Spencer-Thomas or visit or 720-244-6535.
Gateway High School
1st Place Winners
New Business Competition
Photo: Michael Snively
Eagle Ridge Academy
2nd Place Winners
New Business Competition
Photo: Michael Snively
Green Mountain High School
Returning Business Competition
Photo: Carly Goldsmith

Highlands Ranch High School
New Business Competition Finalists
Photo: Michael Snively
Columbine High School
First Place Winners
Returning Business Competition
Photo: Carly Goldsmith
Thomas Jefferson High School
Returning Business Plan Finalists
Photo: Carly Goldsmith
About the Carson J Spencer Foundation - Sustaining a Passion for Living
The Carson J Spencer Foundation ( is a Colorado nonprofit, established in 2005.  We envision a world where leaders and communities are committed to sustaining a passion for living. We sustain a passion for living by:
  • Delivering innovative and effective suicide prevention programs for working-aged people
  • Empowering youth entrepreneurs to prevent suicide
  • Supporting people bereaved by suicide

The Carson J Spencer Foundation is the proud 2013 recipient of the “Small Nonprofit of the Year” award from the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce.


Colorado-Based Entrepreneurial Suicide Prevention Initiative Launches National Expansion


Denver, Colorado.  March 28, 2014.  While the majority of suicide deaths occur in working aged adults, the journey often begins in youth with suicidal thoughts and suicidal behavior. When a teen dies by or attempts, the impact is devastating and long-standing, and the ripple effects on family, friends, schools and communities profound. For these reasons, the 
Carson J Spencer Foundation takes an “upstream” approach to this challenging public health issue with its FIRE Within program. The FIRE Within program, a partnership among the Carson J Spencer Foundation, the Second Wind Fund and Junior Achievement, is a teen leadership initiative that engages high school students to use entrepreneurial strategies to alleviate root causes to student distress. In other words, students create an innovative business that raises both money and awareness for suicide prevention and mental health promotion. With a significant investment from the Adolph Coors Foundation, the program expanded from three to 50 schools in Colorado from 2011-2014. In 2012, the Carson J Spencer Foundation received additional funding from the Manhattan-based Ittleson Foundation to scale the program nationally. During 2013, the Carson J Spencer Foundation hosted multiple Executive Roundtable sessions around the country to gauge community interest in the program and narrowed down the pool of possible locations to eight sites. After a six-month feasibility study, the Carson J Spencer Foundation announces today that the pilot effort for the national expansion will include testing the program’s viability in New York City, San Francisco, and Massachusetts starting September 2014.

For more information on the FIRE Within visit:

To achieve this pilot effort, the Carson J Spencer Foundation is collaborating with the Mental Health Association of New York City (MHA-NYC), the Mental Health Association of San Francisco (MHASF), Riverside Trauma Center (Massachusetts), and the Cape and Islands Youth Suicide Prevention Project (Massachusetts). Each of these “hub partners” will implement the FIRE Within program in three or more schools when the school year begins next fall.

“MHA-NYC is proud to be a part of the national launch of the FIRE Within program, an innovative and effective social entrepreneurship approach to educating and supporting young people to address suicide prevention in their communities,” said Lisa Furst, Director of Public Education, MHA-NYC.

“The Mental Health Association of San Francisco is thrilled to be partnering with the Carson J Spencer Foundation on the first implementation of FIRE Within in California,” said Eduardo Vega, Executive Director of MHASF. “Diverse metropolitan communities like ours that are challenged by youth suicide need solutions that actively engage youth and empower them by putting them in the driver's seat to make an impact on their peers. The unique entrepreneurial approach of the FIRE Within develops leadership and creativity while it engages young people to support each other, to work as change agents in nontraditional ways, and to challenge stigma associated with mental health conditions.”

Over the full academic year, the FIRE Within program gives students the opportunity to understand firsthand how business can positively impact a community. They learn about innovation and business skills, they build capacity for suicide prevention and mental health promotion, they use needs assessment tools to uncover the root causes of student suffering, and then they put it all together and launch a business that generates profit while alleviating the drivers of distress.

“Riverside Trauma Center is extremely excited about collaborating with the Carson J Spencer Foundation on the FIRE Within program,” says Larry Berkowitz, Director of the Riverside Trauma Center. “This ‘outside the box’ approach to youth suicide prevention builds leadership skills, connects local businesses with the young people in their communities, and promotes recovery. This creative program will support Riverside’s efforts to reduce the impact of suicide and suicidal behaviors among youth in Massachusetts.”

Maura Weir, Coordinator for the Cape and Islands Youth Suicide Prevention Project of the Community Health Center of Cape Cod adds, “The decision to partner with the Carson J Spencer Foundation was made because of their great leadership and because the FIRE Within is a dynamic program created for young people to get involved with a very worthy cause.  Suicide prevention is everyone’s business and this program will provide a strategy to do this with high school aged youth.” 

For more information about how your community can get involved with the FIRE Within contact Sally Spencer-Thomas or visit or


About the Carson J Spencer Foundation - Sustaining a Passion for Living
The Carson J Spencer Foundation ( is a Colorado nonprofit, established in 2005.  We envision a world where leaders and communities are committed to sustaining a passion for living. We sustain a passion for living by:
  • Delivering innovative and effective suicide prevention programs for working-aged people
  • Coaching young leaders to develop social enterprises for mental health promotion and suicide prevention
  • Supporting people bereaved by suicide

The Carson J Spencer Foundation is the proud 2013 recipient of the “Small Nonprofit of the Year” award from the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Man Therapy™: Outreach and Impact on Men’s Mental Health Program 18 Months After Launch

A White Paper by:
Sally Spencer-Thomas, Psy.D.
CEO & Co-Founder, Carson J Spencer Foundation

Jarrod Hindman, MS
Director, Office of Suicide Prevention
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

Joe Conrad
CEO & Founder
Cactus Marketing and Communications
February 25, 2014

Innovation in Men’s Mental Health: Man Therapy

Difficult problems require bold solutions. This stance is the guiding philosophy of the Man Therapy program. The project is the result of a unique public/private/nonprofit partnership established in 2007 between Cactus, a Denver-based advertising agency, the Office of Suicide Prevention at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the Carson J Spencer Foundation, a Colorado-based suicide prevention nonprofit organization. Since its launch with an article in the New York Times on July 9th, 2012, the project has drawn national attention and international awards for its creative use of media in health literacy. Now 18 months later, the program continues grow and receive feedback about its effectiveness and provocative approach. This paper will review achievements and outcomes to date and outline a plan for future directions.

From the outset, the co-founders of the campaign made an intentional decision to unapologetically find a way to reach “double jeopardy” men – those most at risk for suicide and least likely to seek care on their own. Previous mental health campaigns targeting men have often been ineffective with this subpopulation of men, so an audacious new approach was needed. Thus, Dr. Rich Mahogany was born. Dr. Mahogany (a “fake therapist”) is the focal point of Man Therapy. He 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 creators’ decision on this approach was steadfast, despite some initial pushback from some in the mental health community who were concerned we were making light of a serious topic or those supporting the men’s movement who were discouraged that we chose to bring stereotypes of masculinity into the project. As you will see from the results outlined below, our target demographic told us that using humor and “manspeak” resonated with them and helped them think about their mental health in a different way.

History and Strategic Plan
The first five years of the project (2007-Spring 2011) were dedicated to research and development through multiple focus groups and in-depth interviews (read first White Paper Man Therapy™: An Innovative Approach to Suicide Prevention for Working Aged Men, July 17th, 2012 for the results). In June of 2011, the Anschutz Foundation funded the initiative to develop and implement the concepts developed during the research and development phase.  Over the next year (June 2011-June 2012), the creative team created and tested campaign assets. On July 9th, 2012, Man Therapy rolled out its initial version of the campaign with an article in the New York Times. 18 months later, the program continues to evolve and provide an even broader scope of resources for men’s mental health.

The purpose of Man 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. The message is that all men should be aware of their mental health, treat it like they would a broken leg, and strive to get better. Because of this “upstream” approach to suicide prevention, the program was quickly rebranded from a suicide prevention initiative to a broader and more robust men’s mental health campaign.

Overarching goals for Man Therapy include:
  1. To improve social norms around mental health among men and the general population.
  2. To increase help-seeking behavior among men for a variety of health and mental health issues, leading to an increase in men seeking available resources (including those provided on the site).
  3. Long-term: to reduce rates of suicidal ideation and deaths among men. 
Within each of these overarching goals, the Man Therapy program works to change the following attitudes and behaviors.

  1. Men’s attitudes toward mental health conditions like depression, anxiety/stress, substance abuse, anger and suicidal thoughts will become less stigmatized (e.g., they will endorse fewer myths).
  2. Men will express a greater willingness to try self-help tools.
  3. Men will express a greater willingness to seek professional help when needed.

  1. Increased numbers of men will self-screen for mental health conditions.
  2. Increased numbers of men will use on-line self-help tools.
  3. Increased numbers of men will interact with peer, professional and crisis resources.
  4. Increased numbers of men and women will reach out to distressed men in their lives, expressing concern and support.

Since the initial launch, several changes were made to expand the scope of the program:
  1. A mobile version of the website makes it accessible on many more devices and improved downloading challenges facing users with limited bandwidth.
  2. A suicide prevention therapist finder now helps men find qualified care locally.
  3. Rich’s List compiles vetted mental health and other support resources for men.
  4. The Mind Master offers men time-limited, skills mastery programs to help relieve stress and conquer many other behavioral and health challenges.
  5. Support Group Central provides on-line support groups for men.
  6. Man Therapy eCards (a partnership with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline) offer words of compassion in the tone of Dr. Rich Mahogany (e.g., “everyone needs a pork shoulder to cry on.”) and are sent to men who are having a hard time from someone who is worried about them.

Knowing that we are reaching men (and the people who are “worried about a man in their life”) at various points on the continuum from prevention to intervention to crisis response, the project team is very intentional of developing strategies to address needs across the continuum. For example, on the “upstream” end of the continuum Man Therapy enhances connectedness by giving participants opportunities to send caring eCards to others who are struggling. In addition, Man Therapy augments intervention by linking results from the 18-point head inspection to qualified referral resources. Finally, Man Therapy assists with crisis response by connecting those in need to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

When a man engages with Man Therapy, the intent is that the program first changes his attitude toward mental health concerns and suicidal behavior and then his behavior changes in ways that decrease these problems. While “raising awareness” is an important goal, it is a necessary but not sufficient condition for preventing suicide and promoting mental health. We must also see behavioral changes. Thus, as the program evolved over the 18 months, additional mental health tools were added to the website including a suicide prevention therapist finder and access to an online support group.


The Man Therapy program is evaluated by three different strategies: 1) Website analytics (where do users go, how long do they stay, how many return), 2) Pop-up survey questions (when users complete a significant experience on the website, a pop-up question asks them about their opinion about it), and 3) In-Depth survey (a longer survey asks participants demographic data and more questions about their experiences)

Website Analytics as of January 10, 2014
    • Visits: 356,090 (95,807 are mobile)
    • Unique Visits: 285,960
    • Return Visits: 20%
    • Average Time on Site: 6 minutes
    • 18-point head inspection completions: 59,894
    • Number of people who accessed crisis information: 19,586
    • Number of people who accessed “Worried About Someone” link: 19,747

Pop-up Survey Questions (n=7,933)
A four key junctures of the website experience, pop-up questions are presented to participants to get their initial impression of the Man Therapy program. Participant satisfaction ratings for these experiences are high:
  • 83% would recommend to a friend in need
  • 51% agreed or strongly agreed they were more likely to seek help after visiting the site
  • 73% said the 18-pt Head Inspection helped direct them to the appropriate resources on the web
  • 78% satisfied or very satisfied with the quality of the Man Therapies
  • 67% were satisfied or very satisfied with the quality of Tales of Triumph

In-Depth Survey (n=508)
In addition to the pop-up questions mentioned above a more in-depth survey asks participants demographic information and allows for qualitative responses (e.g., “What was one thing you liked?” “What didn’t you like?” Here are some results from this survey:

Who is coming to the site?
  • 79% male
  • 79% between the ages of 25-64
  • 10% are Military (1% Active Duty, 9% Veterans)
  • 39% there “because of me”; 8% “for a friend or family member”; 49% “just curious”

Voices of Support and Concern
The qualitative responses were analyzed for patterns and then the frequency of the major themes was tallied.

Most frequent responses to the question “What is one thing that you liked about the website?”
  • 43% Humor (light-hearted, fun, hilarious)
  • 37%: Quality of Website and its features (fresh, creative, accessible, helpful, honest, trustworthy, testimonials, interactive, branding, design, authentic, engaging, illuminating)
  • 17%: Manly (not too touchy feeling, blunt, not feel like a wus)
  • 10% Identification with Character
  • 2% Reassuring/relieving During Experience

Most frequent responses to the question “Was there anything you didn't like about the website?”
  • 22%: No (“nope” “nada” “absolutely not!”)
  • 21%: Technology problems (bandwidth buffering, navigation, inability to print handouts, captioning needed, typos). Many of these problems were fixed over the 18-month period.
  • 9%: More material needed (“Women Therapy”, more resources than Colorado, more topics covered: PTSD, spousal abuse, sexuality, prescription drug abuse, grief, chronic illness)
  • 7%: Offensive, Too many stereotypes, Not funny
  • 1%: Lack of Diversity
  • 1% Too spiritual

Through the online survey and emails we have received, we have captured some of the qualitative experiences users are having with Man Therapy.

What did you like about the website?

At first I thought the site was nothing more than a joke due to the light and humorous nature. I was almost expecting it to be an Old Spice ad. However I am glad I decided to look around anyway, since the information inside is relevant, useful, and put forth in a way that is comfortable to read and easy to understand. I think it may have been that very feeling of humor and lightness which relaxed me and made me more open to the information.

The use of humor with this topic is incredibly important. The last place that a person struggling wants to go to is a 'sterile' site that sucks out that last bit of dignity.

Accessible and Engaging
Many men suffer from attention deficits which can create the need for the visual stimulation provided by the video on the homepage. This really helps to get the message across without requiring someone who may not have the patience to read, the opportunity to learn.

The relaxed, non-confrontational nature of the site, like a friend saying hey, c'mon over, we'll shoot some pool and chill out, the sense of acceptance and camaraderie

Related to Character of Dr. Rich Mahogany
The gentleman talking me through the site was a very welcoming addition. After the survey, his calm yet concerned voice was very reassuring, even if it was a prerecorded speech. In a sense, it helped me calm down long enough to think straight.

The only thing greater than Dr. Rich Mahogany's dry wit and wonderful sense of humor was his response to my Head Inspection results. I received a pretty awful 'score,' and the warm, comforting, and concerned response I got was perfect.

Weirdly, I feel as though the "virtual" counselor actually cares about me and that makes me much more comfortable addressing my mental health issues.

The way it is like sitting with a person in a real room. It's not like a list of rows and columns. Very nicely done!

You took the guilt away from asking for help.

Your site is the first one I've found that helped with the loneliness of depression. Sure, the jokes were a cheesy and the stereotypes abundant, but tonight, I needed to talk to someone more than anything. Dr. Mahogany helped in that regard, even if I was already too educated for my own good going into it. It made me feel better seeing an empathetic face, even if it was pre-generated.

Manly.  Was upset about recent stressful problems, got a laugh out of this and helped gain perspective.

What didn’t you like?

Reinforcing Stereotypes
There's a lot of reinforcing stereotypes in the tips and the verbal segments, and I think we're sidestepping some important problems by not acknowledging that a man can be French, or like spandex and still be a man with problems... But I DO understand why these stereotypes are drawn up. It's a quick way to let men know that this kinda stuff is socially acceptable, and does NOT conflict with being a man.

At first I thought the use of stereotypes may be harmful, but that it is meant to be ironic and to appeal to the men who are most likely to avoid treatment. Keep up the good work!

Conclusion and Next Steps

Eighteen months after the launch of the Man Therapy program, Dr. Rich Mahogany has reached people all over the world, has made many laugh and has made mental health accessible for many men. Many of the technological issues have been fixed and the feedback received gives the developers plenty of room to grow. Immediate next steps include efforts to expand program outcome evaluation, to further expand the on-line mental health tools (e.g., on-line cognitive behavioral therapy) and to enhance our reach by licensing the campaign to organizations, counties, states and countries. With additional funding, the Man Therapy program hopes to continue to improve the website, testimonial library and media assets and exposure.

About the Man Therapy Partners
Cactus is a full-service brand communications agency providing business solutions for companies and causes through brand strategy, advertising, design, interactive and media services. Cactus has been nationally recognized for its breakthrough creative executions by The One Show, Communication Arts, The Webby Awards, South by Southwest, Favourite Website Awards, Advertising Age, Creativity and Print’s Regional Design Annual. To learn more about Cactus, visit

Carson J Spencer Foundation - Sustaining a Passion for Living
The Carson J Spencer Foundation ( is a Colorado nonprofit, established in 2005.  We envision a world where leaders and communities are committed to sustaining a passion for living. We sustain a passion for living by:
  • Delivering innovative and effective suicide prevention programs for working-aged people
  •  Coaching young leaders to develop social enterprises for mental health promotion and suicide prevention
  • Supporting people bereaved by suicide

Colorado’s Office of Suicide Prevention –– Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
The Office of Suicide Prevention, a legislatively mandated entity of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, serves as the lead entity for statewide suicide prevention and intervention efforts, collaborating with Colorado communities to reduce the number of suicide deaths and attempts in the state. To learn more about the Office, visit

Man Therapy Components, Outcomes and Accomplishments July 2012-January 2013

Man Therapy Components Established
  • Website
    • Interactive website gives users:
      • Information about substance abuse, depression, anxiety and anger
      • An 18-point head inspection (self-screening tool)
      • A blueprint for how to “fix” the problems
      • Guidelines on how to help someone they are worried about
      • Access to crisis services
      • Access to the Suicide Prevention Therapist Finder
      • Access to online support groups for men
      • Rich’s List of mental health and support resources
    • Mobile Version allows website to be used on mobile devices and in areas that have low bandwidth
  • Out of Home Campaign
    • During August and September 2012, billboards and bus shelters displayed Man Therapy promotions
  • Posters/Coasters/Business Cards/T-shirts – this collateral material was distributed to bars and restaurants that men tend to frequent
    • 7 different posters
    • 3 coaster versions
    • 1 business card version
    • 3 t-shirt designs
  • Videos – housed on website and on YouTube
      • 9 testimonial videos depicting diverse stories of men who had struggled with a suicide crisis and were not thriving
      • Three “viral” videos (content is mostly compelling and less educational with the goal to drive people to the website)
      • 30 second PSA
      • Case study videos
    • Social Media (Twitter/Facebook/YouTube)
      • Twitter Followers - 286
      • Facebook Likes – 868 “Likes” for Man Therapy page
      • YouTube Views – 28 videos with a total of 52,410 views
      • eCards – in partnership with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline these eCards allow people to send supportive messages to men they are worried about
·      Town Hall Meetings – Twelve Man Therapy town hall meetings were held throughout Colorado between July 2012 and June 2013 attended by approximately 300 local elected officials, business leaders, community members and media.
·      Conference Presentations -- The Man Therapy partners presented on the program at over a dozen Colorado, national and international conferences on behavioral health, public health and suicide prevention, including several keynote addresses impacting over 2,000 people.
APPENDIX B:  Media, Awards and Expansion Earned

 Major Media
New York Times - Launch (print and online)
National Council for Behavioral Health (magazine)
9News Interview (TV and online)
Colorado Public Radio Interview (radio)
American Public Health Association
Psychology Today (blog)
Huffington Post (Online / Email)
Globe and Mail (Canada print and online)

Partial List of Awards Won
          Colorado Healthcare Communicators Gold Leaf Award
  • Grand Gold Leaf Award 
  • Gold within Advertising for Multimedia campaign 

Suicide Prevention Coalition of Colorado Media Award
Safe States Alliance Innovative Initiative of the Year Award

Expansion Achieved: Australia and Wisconsin
  • On June 5th, 2013, the Australian mental health organization beyondblue launched their own version of Man Therapy with a new character called Dr. Brian Ironwood.
  • Wisconsin became the first state to license Man Therapy and launched the program roll out in the Fall of 2013.

 [SS1]When formatting this for the final publication, would the geniuses at Cactus please make this continuum graphic more attractive?