The Gillard Government and beyondblue have teamed up in an unconventional new mental health campaign called “Man Therapy” designed to battle depression and anxiety in Aussie men.

Minister for Mental Health Mark Butler launched the humorous campaign alongside beyondblue Chairman Jeff Kennett, both of whom were overshadowed by the cult figure of Dr Brian Ironwood (the fictional character appointed to head up the campaign).

He is a self-described “straight-talking, irreverent, man’s man” with a PhD in everything, whose character has been created to host the Man Therapy website and urge Australian men to take charge of their mental health.

“We know humour works in advertising with men and we need to ensure the message cuts through to Aussie men about the need to take care of their mental health,” Mr Butler said.

Financed by the Gillard Government and delivered by beyondblue, Mr Butler said the campaign seeks to address the high rate of depression and anxiety in Australian men by taking a humorous approach to a serious issue.

“ABS data shows that the number of men who died by suicide in 2011 is almost twice the number who died on the roads, making suicide the biggest killer of Australian males aged between 15 and 44,” Mr Butler said

“Men account for more than three quarters of all deaths by suicide and the tragedy is that about 72 per cent do not seek help for their underlying mental health issue.

“We need to do something about the high rate of suicide among men and this campaign is one of a number of programs the Government has funded as part of a record $304 million investment in suicide prevention.”

The Gillard Government’s suicide prevention programs sit alongside Labor’s five year $2.2 billion National Mental Health Reform Plan 2011-2016.

Man Therapy ads will appear on television, radio, print, social media and online starting today and will run until the end of the year.

For more information, check out the Man Therapy website.