Mental health provider offers free fan therapy

Adrian Bonifacio
The New York Mets are in last place in the NL East and recently suffered their worst loss in team history. UMA Health is offering free therapy to Mets fans as part of a promotion to erase the stigma of mental health issues. (Adrian Bonifacio/Unsplash)

Read or listen to a Portuguese translation

Fan therapy. It’s a thing.

Two days after the New York Mets had a historic loss against the Washington Nationals (4-25) in the end of July, UMA Health — a New York-based online mental health and coaching marketplace — offered free therapy sessions to fans.

Injuries and poor play have led to the Mets being placed dead last in the National League East. Their loss to the Nationals was the worst loss in Mets history.

To receive the free therapy, the company asked the fans to share their most difficult Mets memory.

“As a lifelong, die-hard Mets fan, I have struggled for decades with loving this team and watching while the organization makes mistake after mistake, further embarrassing the team’s fans and the great city of New York,” UMA Health CEO Dave Kerpen said in a press release. “I may not have any power to improve the team, but at least now I can improve the stress and anxiety levels a bit for fellow Mets fans.”

The promotion is meant to be lighthearted, with the intention to eliminate the stigma associated with the importance of therapy for mental health issues.

“The Mets may be a bit of a joke right now, but, in all seriousness, therapy is no laughing matter. Tens of millions of Americans struggle with depression, anxiety and mental health issues every year, and many of these issues go untreated,” Kerpen said.

The offer made headlines across the nation and has increased awareness of UMA Health’s services. Marketing to a professional baseball team fanbase is an effective way to reach a broad and diverse audience, with the professional sports audience crossing many demographics.

Avid baseball fan from Highland, Utah, Mark Nyman said the tactic used by UMA Health to shed light on its services and the mental health issue is unique.

“When I first heard about Mets fans getting free therapy sessions, I thought, ‘Maybe we’re taking this sports thing a little bit too far,’” Nyman said. “But when I learned that it’s a mental health provider advertising their services, I thought, ‘That’s really creative.’”

BYU marketing professor Douglas Witt jokingly related to Mets fans through his love for BYU football during a difficult season.

“Hey, peak performance for a bargain price. I need that too! And as a BYU football fan, I’ve been needing this for the past six months,” Witt said.

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