Mental health remains one of the greatest public health issues facing America. And for men, a stigma remains a major obstacle to treatment.

According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness, about 1 in 5 U.S. adults, or 43.8 million people, experience mental illness every year.  Based on a 2014 survey on drug use and health, only 41 percent of adults with a mental health condition received mental health services in the past year. This lack of treatment reflects not only a lack of access, but also the stigma associated with mental wellness. 

According to Mental Health America, men are less likely than women to seek help for depression, substance abuse and stressful life events because of a reluctance to talk, social norms or a tendency to downplay symptoms of mental health disorders. The problem is not insignificant; More than 6 million men suffer from depression each year, and male depression often goes undiagnosed.

Identifying the need to minimize stigma and encourage conversations about mental illness, Otsuka launched an original video series, “Let’s Talk! We’re Better Together,” in November 2018. 

One recent episode features Otsuka employees that were former college athletes. The candid conversation follows their transition from student-athlete to 9-5 job and adulthood. 

With its web series, and by talking about this important health issue, Otsuka aims to help get the word out that men do experience mental health conditions, and it's OK to talk about them. While stigma is part of the taboo element for some, unfamiliarity may be also. There are people who simply do not know how to approach the topic, or ask for help. The hope is that these videos could serve as a tool for men (and women alike) to model what a healthy conversation about mental health looks like.    

At the end of the day, if these videos encourage others to speak to trusted people in their lives, and/or seek out the help of a healthcare professional, we will have done our part.