'Mental' is the first mental health app created just for men
While awareness about mental health is on the rise generally, it often seems that men are left out of the conversation. Now, a new mental health app created specifically for men aims to close the gap.
"To fix the male suicide crisis, we have to be innovative with solutions that resonate with men," Mental co-founder Anson Whitmer, Ph.D., told U.S. Today.
According to data obtained by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics, men make up more than 83% of all deaths by suicide, and yet they are the least likely group to seek help for mental health issues.
"Traditionally, men have been less likely to seek support for mental health issues. This is probably for a number of reasons, including stigma and the traditional 'strong male' stereotype still prevalent in our society—the idea that expressing emotion is a sign of weakness," explained Dr. Natasha Bijlani, a consultant psychiatrist at Priory Hospital Roehampton.
Whitmer's dedication to the app goes beyond the look and its tech capabilities. Instead, he took a deeper approach, looking at the fundamentals in order to rethink how they could approach the male population. In conjunction with his medical background, a personal experience was a driving force behind the app. When he was 19 years old, Whitmer's uncle—whom he described as his best friend—committed suicide.
"He tried to get help, but none of the therapists or clinical approaches resonated with him," Whitmer recalled. "My research was driven by a desire to understand what causes men like my uncle to develop mood disorders like depression."
According to the American Institute of Stress, about 73% of people have stress that impacts their mental health. Nearly half report struggling to sleep because of stress, while 77% say stress directly impacts their physical health.
Whitmer and Mental co-founder Tyle Sheaffer were both teammates at Calm—a $2 billion mental health app—and saw a need to serve a community that is often left out of the conversation when talking about mental health issues.
"At Mental, we are meeting men where they are at," Whitmer said. "Instead of 'man up, be emotionless' or 'just be emotionally vulnerable," we are offering a third way: actionable, evidence-based tools that simply solve your problems."
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