“It’s really primarily men who we are seeing their suicide rates going up.”
Sally Spencer Thompson, co-founder and CEO of the Carson J. Spencer foundation says that the goal of their upcoming men’s mental health forum is to reduce the stigma associated with men’s mental health. “We have far more stories of recovery that are happening now, we have much better science around mental health issues than we did even a decade ago, so we’re starting to eradicate some of the barriers that people have when they think about mental health and place judgement upon people that are struggling.”
Spencer Thompson says the majority of suicides in Colorado occur in working-aged men between 25 and 64 years old. “When you look at the health data, the disparities really rest on the shoulders of working-aged men, a lot of other mortality rates are going down in some other pockets of demographics. So everybody is faced with similar stressers of fast-paced life and multiple choices and the ups and downs of the economic situation. But it’s really primarily men who we are seeing their suicide rates going up while everybody else is going down, and it’s actually white men, a very specific demographic, white men in the middle years.”
Spencer Thompson says mental health services aimed at men are needed to help combat this problem “our traditional approaches to mental health services do not tend to work with the sub-population most at risk” Spencer Thompson says these men are known as double jeopardy men, men with a number of risk factors who are unlikely to seek help on their own. “We need to meet men where they’re at and provide them with things that work for them.” The upcoming Healthy Men Have Healthy Minds forum aims to fill some of the gaps present in men’s mental health care by providing opportunities for peer support from other men and to encourage men to seek out informal support from friends and co-workers. In addition Spencer Thompson says increased accessibility to professional mental health services is needed “we need to look at on line delivery”. She points to Mantherapy.org as one example of an online tool where men can screen themselves for depression and other mental health issues and then get linked to support services. Spencer Thompson says people need to be educated on the early warning signs of depression or stress, like insomnia which is a key early warning sign of mental health issues. Spencer Thompson says that if people get help early on there is a tremendous prognosis for recovery “self care strategies and peer support can do absolute wonders in getting people back on track and so we need to educate people when you’re seeing these emerging symptoms.”
Healthy Men HaveHealthy Minds: A Forum to Engage Men in Dialogue about Mental Health happens Thursday, November 19, 2015
2:15 pm – 5:00 pm, Saint Joseph Hospital, Russell Pavilion, 1375 East 19th Avenue, Denver.
Guys Night Out for Gentlemental Health, a fund-raiser for Man Therapy, Project Sanctuary and the Carson J Spencer Foundation happens Thursday, November 19th at 5.30pm Casselman’s Bar in Denver.