General News — 22 January 2014

Taking a more comical approach to targeting men’s depression has helped  national charity beyondblue increase its effectiveness fivefold.

The charity aired its multi-million dollar Man Therapy ads throughout The  Ashes, the Big Bash League and the One Day International cricket matches and saw  visits to the website jump from 3,800 each fortnight to 19,000 each  fortnight.

Beyondblue chairman Jeff Kennett credited the “dry, humorous” approach of the  ads with increasing the number of visitors completing the Man Therapy website’s mental health quiz from one in ten to  one in three.

Mr Kennett said it was “incredible” to see the ads had opened the charity up  to a much larger audience, with 90 per cent of the site’s visitors reported as  being new.

The campaign features a fictitious ‘Dr Brian Ironwood’, who urges men to “have the balls to take action” on depression and anxiety and says a real man  looks out for his mates.bigstockphoto_Man_In_Depression_5432510

The charity say the humorous campaign was the first of its kind in Australia  and estimate that around two million men saw the ads.

One in eight men will suffer from depression at some stage in their lives,  the charity estimates.

Beyondblue CEO Kate Carnell said the results gave hope for reducing suicide  in men, who are three times more likely to die by suicide than women.

“The latest Australian Bureau of Statistic’s figures show that in 2011, the  number of men who died by suicide is almost twice the number who died on the  roads that year which means suicide is currently the biggest killer of males  aged between 15 and 44,” she said.

Ms Carnell said most men didn’t want to talk about emotional issues and hoped  the campaign would encourage them to speak with their doctor.

The campaign was funded by the Federal Government as part of the Taking  Action to Tackle Suicide Initiative.

This article first appeared on ‘WA Today’ on 21 January 2014.

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