It can be hard to talk about something that is uncomfortable. But we need to talk about suicide. Our community and our men especially need it.
In recent years, the suicide mortality rate in Springfield-Greene County has surpassed the averages of both Missouri and the United States. For men in our community, this problem persists at an even higher rate — men over 45 are the group most likely to die by suicide. These jarring statistics point to an overdue, necessary conversation about men’s mental health.
The campaign message encourages men in Greene County to check in with other men in their life and engage in open and honest conversations about how they are feeling.
About “Hey man, you good?”
The project, funded through Community Foundation of the Ozarks’ Advancing Mental Wellness grant program, will utilize partnerships with HLA member organizations — including Burrell Behavioral Health and Community Partnership of the Ozarks. Over three years, HLA member organizations will collaborate on community outreach, resource sharing through MentalHealth417.com and encouraging men to have conversations about mental health through various mediums.
The “Hey man, you good?” campaign has three primary goals:
- Decrease negative mental health stigma by putting positive messages into the community.
- Increase use of mental health services by providing a platform for folks to get connected.
- Decrease suicide rate among men in Greene County.
Suicide prevention through connection
Though men make up about 50% of the total population, they account for 80% of suicides. Many factors play into this, such as method. Men often use firearms, which leads to higher levels of suicide completion. A few other factors are stigma, stereotypes and a lack of resource and care seeking.
Self-care strategies and healthy behaviors can help during a mental health occurrence. Connection with friends, family, peers and professional help can help, too — these strategies are especially helpful in preventing someone from reaching a point of crisis.
Asking for help and starting a conversation may be out of your comfort zone, but it doesn’t have to be awkward. Opening these lines of communication between the people in your life could be the reason you or someone you love acts to better their mental health.
For men, these conversations can start with a simple question: “Hey man, you good?”
Let’s get talking
This week and in the weeks beyond, we encourage you to start a conversation about mental health with someone you care about. Check in with yourself. Reach out to a friend who seems down. Share your story. Ask for help if you need it.
One conversation can save a life.
For more information about “Hey man, you good?” and community mental health efforts, visit MentalHealth417.com.