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NAMI launches men's mental health website, receives grant

Mantherapy includes resources geared towards veterans, service members, and first responders.

MAINE, USA — Maine’s chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI Maine) announced a new web-based mental health resource platform for men in Maine called Mantherapy Wednesday. 

Mantherapy is for men who lean towards traditional roles of masculinity, who may be reluctant to seek help or struggle with talking about mental health concerns. The resource uses testimonials, quizzes, and questionnaires to direct men towards mental health resources in Maine and beyond.

For more than a decade, Maine’s suicide rate has climbed above both the national and New England average. 78 percent of all suicides in Maine between 2014 – 2016 were men. According to the CDC, four of the five professions with the highest national rate of suicide for males are also the most common occupations in Maine. These include construction, maintenance and repair, transportation, as well as agricultural fields such as farming, fishing, and forestry.

"Men often feel that seeking help with mental health concerns as a sign of weakness. They often suffer in silence,” says Commissioner Randall Liberty of the Department of Corrections. “I have seen this often with fellow veterans. They have been taught that “real” men don’t speak of feelings. There is no dishonor in seeking help."

In 2017 alone, Maine lost 48 veterans to deaths by suicide, at a rate more the double the national average, and the majority of whom were male. 

NAMI Maine also announced it has been awarded the Healthier Communities Grant by to help Maine law enforcement professionals with mental health. The grant gives $55,260 in funding for the Law Enforcement Assistance Resiliency Network (LEARN with ME) program. The U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing has also granted York County’s Sheriff Department with over $110,000 in funding to provide peer support for officers in collaboration with NAMI Maine.

“Officers are more likely to die by suicide than any other the line of duty. Our first responders are frequently exposed to trauma in the field, which can lead to PTSD, substance use and depression. It is vital to have healthy ways to process that trauma,” Jenna Mehnert, MSW, NAMI Maine’s CEO, said.

Through the LEARN with ME program funded by Cigna, NAMI Maine will train officers to provide mental health support to their peers strengthening NAMI’s Statewide Law Enforcement Peer Support Team. Confidential support will be available to sworn-in and retired officers through in-person opportunities and a phone call. As a part of these efforts, on October 15, NAMI Maine will launch a Public Safety Peer Support text line. 

The line will be staffed by trained law enforcement professionals. The text line will function as a peer support resource and not a crisis line. The number for the line is (207) 536-3930 or LEO-3930.

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