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NIMH’s ‘Real Men. Real Depression.’ Campaign


Men are less likely than women to recognize, acknowledge, and seek treatment for depression. In addition, because men may appear to be angry or aggressive instead of sad, their loved ones and even their physicians may not always recognize depression symptoms. To address this concern, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) launched the Real Men. Real Depression. campaign to educate the public about depression in men. The campaign, which ran from 2003 through 2005, became one of the nation’s first formal public efforts to raise awareness on the topic.

Real Stories

With permission from all participants, documentary filmmaker Leslie Wiener captured men speaking candidly about their experiences with depression. Personal accounts from a wide spectrum of men—a retired U.S. Air Force First Sergeant, a firefighter, a writer, a publisher, a national diving champion, a lawyer, a police officer, a student, and others—became the Real Stories of Depression video series.

Public Impact

In addition to the Real Stories of Depression videos, the resources and materials created for the Real Men. Real Depression. campaign included radio and television public service announcements (PSAs), brochures, fact sheets, a web site, and telephone and email hotlines. During the campaign’s three-year run, NIMH distributed nearly one million copies of these resources and over 150,000 copies were downloaded from the website. In addition, the campaign’s outreach effort generated 14 million hits to the web site and nearly 5,000 emails and phone calls to the information hotlines. By sharing their personal stories of depression, treatment, and recovery, these men helped NIMH increase public awareness and made a powerful contribution to help other men recognize depression.



Real Stories of Depression: In these videos, men of different ages, backgrounds, races and ethnicities talk about their experiences with depression.