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  • Jonathan Isserow

The incredible use of humour in men’s mental health

I had the unique opportunity to meet Joe Conrad - CEO of Grit Digital Health whose team generated ‘Man Therapy’. This was a passion project, made at breakneck speed on a small budget. Through their talent, creativity and daring they produced video content that uses humour to engage men in potentially life-saving psychoeducational material. When I first encountered the video content, I was slightly dubious about the fictional therapist ‘Rich Mohagany' as he seemed to perpetuate traditional notion of masculinity. However, from speaking to Joe and exploring the material further, this character provides the hook to engage men who otherwise would be completely averse to accessing support. It seems to have found the sweet-spot for being familiar-enough for guys to identify with, yet sufficiently different to motivate behavioural change.

Impressively, recent independent research has confirmed its meaningful impact. The results for a 4-year, $1.2 million study, funded by the CDC, shows that Man Therapy not only helps reduce depression, suicide risk, and poor mental health days, it also improves help-seeking behaviour in working-aged men. Explore the research

To address issues of greater representation, Grit are aiming to include voices of different, actual therapists to inform the material in Man Therapy 3.0. Thanks so much Joe for a stimulating and inspiring meeting.

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