Tell me about these Visible Men ..And women?
It turns out more than just men care about men's mental health.
Although Visible Man is still new, there's enough interest that we wanted to examine who actually follows VM on Instagram and is taking an interest in supporting, advocating, and improving men's mental health education so that we can reach the audience that needs it most.
We pulled demographic data made available by Instagram and charted them below, and it turns out almost half of our followers are women.
But what role do women have in whether men become seen? A BIG one it turns out. Although this topic deserves much broader discussion, one recent study at Boston University School of Medicine involving 363 veterans of 9/11 showed that women play a crucial role in whether their guy gets help or not. From the study:
For men, relationship impairment moderated the association between mental health and service use, such that the impact of depression symptoms on treatment seeking was reduced when accompanied by high impairment. For women, subsequently assessed relationship impairment acted as a mediator of the positive association between PTSD symptom severity and service use. The finding that relationship impairment interfered with treatment seeking for men but facilitated treatment seeking for women may help explain widely demonstrated sex differences in treatment seeking.
In other words, a man is more likely to seek help if his female partner supports his decision.
And what about location? Our goal is to reach into men's lives, meeting them where they're at. As of this writing, America has a large number of followers, but that does not mean that these other nations do not need attention. For example, there have been 68 clinical trials relating to Suicide and Depression in the US; in Africa there has been 1. Does this mean there's no suicide or depression in Africa, or does it mean there is only currently little investment there?
Finally, is Visible Man reaching the men it needs to? One way to look at this is to examine the suicide rates among men and compare it to who follows VM. This data from the CDC of the rate of suicide (per 100,000 people) for the years 2007-2017 shows that although we're doing ok, we need to reach out to more men in the older age ranges. Maybe these dudes don't have Instagram; maybe they don't follow VM. Either way, we need to do a better job of reaching in to their lives.
We're looking at this data to understand how effective VM is and what gaps exist so that we can do even better. Join us in spreading Visible Man so that we can continue to make men's mental health a priority.