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Gov. Rick Snyder has teamed up with the statewide wellness campaign, Healthy Men Michigan (www.HealthyMenMichigan.org), to proclaim June 25 Men’s Mental Health Awareness Day in Michigan. This proclamation is an excellent demonstration of Governor Snyder’s personal commitment to raising awareness and opportunities to improve the quality of life for those struggling with problems related to mental health and mental illness, and their loved ones, living in Michigan.

Nationwide, suicide accounted for 44,965 deaths in 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A recent article in The Washington Post, reports suicide rates are increasing nationwide, and especially increasing in rural areas. In Michigan, where suicide is the 10th leading cause of death, the top 10 counties with the highest rates of suicide deaths are rural: Alcona, Ontonagon, Oscoda, Lake, Iron, Schoolcraft, Mackinac, Gogebic, Roscommon, and Iosco.

Healthy Men Michigan, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Grant #1 U01 CE002661-01), brings about awareness, detection and treatment for suicide by providing free and anonymous online screening and mental health resources to men who visit the website (www.HealthyMenMichigan.org).  Jodi Jacobson Frey, PhD, MSW, associate professor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore and principal investigator for the Healthy Men Michigan campaign says, “the ability to access tools and resources quickly, privately and anonymously serves to remove a number of potential barriers to getting help. Healthy Men Michigan was designed so that men can be reached with minimal effort on their part, allowing them to access services and resources without leaving home.”

To date, more than 4,800 individuals have taken the online screening at HealthyMenMichigan.org. Frey reports that “more than 60 percent of those screened and in our target demographic – men between the ages of 25-64 living in Michigan – scored at risk for either suicide or depression. Many of those screened are not connected to any mental health services.”  This staggering statistic solidifies why programs like HealthyMenMichigan.org are so critical in working with partners throughout the state to break down stigma and other barriers and get help to men who need it the most.

To celebrate Men’s Mental Health Awareness Day, Healthy Men Michigan invites organizations, coalitions and support groups, and businesses throughout Michigan to encourage men to seek information and treatment by taking a screening at www.HealthyMenMichigan.org. Promotional partners can also access free promotional materials such as social media posts, flyers, posters and wallet cards by visiting the Healthy Men Michigan Downloadable Resource Center.

Men’s Mental Health Awareness Day is an opportunity to show the men in your life you care about them, and that taking care of their mental fitness is as important as taking care of their physical fitness. “Awareness Day is a time for us to join together with workplaces and community organizations across the state to get the message out to working-aged men that they are not alone and that help is available” said Lisa Desai, PsyD, director of mental health screening and research at Screening for Mental Health and Healthy Men Michigan campaign manager.

Visit www.HealthyMenMichigan.org for more information.

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