Even before the pandemic, 77% of men were dealing with some form of stress, anxiety, or depression and 40% said it would take thoughts of suicide or self-harm for them to reach out and get any help, according to a survey by behavioral care provider Priory.
Yet, there are few online community platforms for men focused on well-being. There is a unique opportunity to build communities that provide support and guidance. Tethr provides men with a safe online space for open dialogue and support.
The Nuts & Bolts
Problem: There is a growing men’s mental health crisis and a rise in male suicides. Men have long struggled to build emotionally supportive and open peer relationships or have been discouraged from having these relationships because of outdated stereotypes of what it means to be a man. There are not enough spaces where men can speak openly with each other about their struggles in a mutually supportive environment.
Solution: Tethr provides men with a platform where they can build supportive peer relationships with other men via groups on specific subjects, or with those who share similar adverse circumstances to help them find more purpose and meaning in their lives.
Tethr provides a dedicated 24/7 support community, where members can safely express themselves and get access to services such as forums and private messaging. Tethr has collected community feedback and data that shows the platform has been a lifeline for many men since its launch in June 2020.
When 500 Met tethr
We met tethr when they applied to CIX Summit’s Top 20 Early Stage Startups in Canada. Prior to founding tethr, Matt Zerker (CEO) was a Portfolio Manager at a quantitative hedge fund in Toronto. After the sudden death of a close friend in 2018, Matt spiraled into a deep depression that left him unable to work. Therapy and medications, including experimental treatments, weren’t helpful. It wasn’t until he was invited to join a men’s peer support group and went on a men’s emotional awareness retreat that things started to change. Matt quit his job in April 2019, and started building tethr.
Burke White is the Chief Product Officer at tethr, where he manages customer experience. A driven product leader, Burke has a track record managing technology solutions in the fintech, mental health, banking, energy, and blockchain industries.
Addison Brasil is tethr’s VP of Brand & Strategy and Head of Impact. He is a committed peer support advocate and speaker, having lost his brother to cancer and his father to suicide. He also survived a fatal accident that killed a close friend, and left him unable to walk for months.
Prior to joining tethr, Addison ran his own professional coaching firm, and helped to create content in a variety of mediums, including film and television.
The team is working towards Sustainable Development Goals, including Goal #3, good health and well-being, and Goal #10, reducing inequalities. Addison also developed the S.P.E.E.D. Test, which provides companies and consumers transparency as it relates to Sustainability, Philanthropy, Ethics, Environment, and Diversity.
Tethr helps community members feel less isolated, especially with COVID-19 social distancing guidelines, measures that will likely be in place for the foreseeable future. The company is also on a mission to dismantle outdated stereotypes about manhood that exist today and have resulted in most men not knowing how to build supportive, emotionally connected relationships with each other.
Because many men believe that it is not okay to struggle, they often underutilize mental health services and disproportionately resort to harmful or destructive means of coping (i.e. substance abuse and self-harming behaviors). Currently, 75% of the suicides are committed by men and the pandemic has only made this situation worse.
Future of tethr
The company has the potential to build a platform that addresses men’s mental health and well-being. Most mental health solutions, such as therapy, are either expensive, do not address the unique needs of men, or aren’t accessible for those individuals with little time or who live in areas where traditional support structures are sparse.
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You can learn more about tethr at: https://www.tethr.men.
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