New program offers resources for Maine men often reluctant to get help for mental health issues

A new effort in Maine aims to increase resources for men facing mental health problems.More than 40% of suicide deaths in the country are among men between the ages of 25 and 54.Research shows men are less willing than women to acknowledge mental health issues. The National Alliance on Mental Illness said Maine has the highest rate of suicide among middle aged men in all of New England.NAMI Maine has launched a new website called Man Therapy, which targets men who struggle talking about mental health problems.”If a guy from Maine goes on there, takes the mental health quiz, then local resources pop up,” NAMI Maine CEO Jenna Mehnert said.Data show that 78% of suicides in Maine from 2014 to 2016 were among men. Many work in construction, shop building, forestry, fishing, farming and mills. They are often reluctant to seek help.”It is designed for the guys who hold traditional definitions of masculinity who work in jobs that require greater physicality, and that is who dies by suicide at a higher rate,” Mehnert said.Post-traumatic stress disorder is classified as a workplace injury in Maine. Rep. Jared Golden, a Marine, advocated for that classification when he served in the Maine Legislature.In Congress, he voted for the community policing grants that support Man Therapy.”Really, this isn’t about weakness; it’s about resiliency, though. It’s what I’ve really come to learn – when you see it that way, you get the help that you need, you get back to work sooner, and you’re on top of your A-game,” Golden said.The announcement about the new resources was made Wednesday at the state’s law enforcement officers’ memorial to highlight the program’s mission to assist the profession.”Not just for law enforcement, but for EMS and fire personnel as well, we actually do have in fact do have something pro-active that we can do. This is not replacing peer support,” Department of Public Safety Commissioner Michael Sauschuck said.There is a special focus on first responders because, across the country, they die at three times the rate from suicide as they do in the line of duty.

A new effort in Maine aims to increase resources for men facing mental health problems.

More than 40% of suicide deaths in the country are among men between the ages of 25 and 54.

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Research shows men are less willing than women to acknowledge mental health issues.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness said Maine has the highest rate of suicide among middle aged men in all of New England.

NAMI Maine has launched a new website called Man Therapy, which targets men who struggle talking about mental health problems.

“If a guy from Maine goes on there, takes the mental health quiz, then local resources pop up,” NAMI Maine CEO Jenna Mehnert said.

Data show that 78% of suicides in Maine from 2014 to 2016 were among men. Many work in construction, shop building, forestry, fishing, farming and mills. They are often reluctant to seek help.

“It is designed for the guys who hold traditional definitions of masculinity who work in jobs that require greater physicality, and that is who dies by suicide at a higher rate,” Mehnert said.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is classified as a workplace injury in Maine. Rep. Jared Golden, a Marine, advocated for that classification when he served in the Maine Legislature.

In Congress, he voted for the community policing grants that support Man Therapy.

“Really, this isn’t about weakness; it’s about resiliency, though. It’s what I’ve really come to learn – when you see it that way, you get the help that you need, you get back to work sooner, and you’re on top of your A-game,” Golden said.

The announcement about the new resources was made Wednesday at the state’s law enforcement officers’ memorial to highlight the program’s mission to assist the profession.

“Not just for law enforcement, but for EMS and fire personnel as well, we actually do have in fact do have something pro-active that we can do. This is not replacing peer support,” Department of Public Safety Commissioner Michael Sauschuck said.

There is a special focus on first responders because, across the country, they die at three times the rate from suicide as they do in the line of duty.