‘Man Up Project’ – New film shines light on men’s mental health in Jersey

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Today sees the launch of The Man Up Project, a short film created by local musician turned filmmaker Ben O’Shea. Supported by both ArtHouse Jersey and Crestbridge, the film explores the reality of men’s mental health in Jersey, right in the middle of national Mental Health Awareness Week.

Ben has worked closely with Mind Jersey, Liberate, Listening Lounge and Jersey Hospice on the project. Through discussions with local men as well as local mental health professionals Ben set out to gain a better understanding for men’s relationship with the concept of mental health, how each of his contributors handles it and shines a light on the many positive resources available to Islanders.

Ben wanted to help normalise the topic of mental health in conversations and discuss ways we can all manage our mental health, including utilising the multiple resources available that are there to help.

O’Shea said “We have all heard those phrases, ‘oh man up’, ‘pull yourself together’, ‘get over it’, ‘grow a pair’ or ‘be strong’. These are actually pretty unhelpful and dismissive if you are going through a tough time. You can’t just ‘get on with it’ when you’re suffering from depression, PTSD or anxiety! Many of us don’t know how to deal with mental health and part of that is because it has a stigma surrounding it. We need to change our perspective on the topic so we can move forward.”

“I’ve been aware of ArtHouse Jersey for a few years now and it has supported me in my music work previously, so I applied for funding. I approached as many local mental health charities as I could and invited them to contribute interviews. I wanted viewers, particularly anyone that hasn’t experienced a counselling session before, to be able to put a face to a charity. That personal feel is so important, especially with such a personal subject! I was lucky enough to receive some extra financial support from my employer, Crestbridge, who have such a great wellbeing programme in place and are big mental health advocates.

Finally, Will Robinson (of Submarine Creative) is my go-to film maker on the island. His portfolio is impressive, he achieves phenomenal visuals and he is a pleasure to work with.”

Katrina Hancock of Jersey Hospice Care said “As we mark Mental Health Awareness Week we know that many struggle with bereavement and the loss of a loved one. At Jersey Hospice Care our team of qualified and experienced counsellors are available to Islanders in need of support to come to terms with the death of a relative or friend. No two people will experience loss in the same way and for some people it can be devastating, and have an impact on their mental health. We can provide counselling, information and resources to help adults, young people and children to explore their feelings and adjust to a life without that person.”

Hugo Forrester of Mind Jersey said “Visibility given to the topic of men’s mental health is vitally important in an age where men of all ages are facing immense pressures which, left unsupported, can ultimately lead to suicide – the biggest killer of men under 50 years old. Mind Jersey champions the message that it is ok to reach out & ‘Man Up’ shows the unique experiences of men from a range of backgrounds who know that poor mental health does not discriminate and it is ok to ask for help. To find out more visit www.mindjersey.org “

Vic Tanner Davy of Liberation said “‘Liberate was delighted to be asked to take part in the ‘Man Up’ project and hope that the film’s message will encourage more men to speak about their mental health when they find they are struggling, particularly as a result of the last year. As an organisation that offers support to men from diverse backgrounds and of diverse identities, it is important that the support we offer includes mental health support. If anyone is prompted to seek help as a result of seeing the film, Liberate can be emailed at counselling@liberate.je”.

The Listening Lounge said “Initiatives to raise awareness and encourage open, honest conversations about our wellbeing are so important and can help challenge stigma and promote good mental health. Of equal importance is sharing information about support that is available, and it is wonderful that the Man Up Project presents an array of services that are easily accessible. We invite viewers to start a conversation with us at the Listening Lounge, simply give us a call on 866793.”

Fiona St Clair-Bolam, Director, Group Head of HR at Crestbridge said “Breaking the stigma around men’s mental health is so important and Crestbridge is delighted to be supporting Ben in his mission to do this through the Man Up project. Societal expectations and traditional gender roles play a huge part in why men are less likely to openly discuss or seek help for their mental health problems and we were really pleased that two of our directors had the opportunity to feature in the film to discuss such an important topic.”

Director of ArtHouse Jersey Tom Dingle said “The challenges of the past year have highlighted just how important, and sometimes fragile, mental health can be and this film sits right at the heart of this important conversation within Jersey’s community. Congratulations to Ben for choosing to shine a light on this matter and for bringing so many candid, knowledgeable and kind-hearted contributors along with him. It’s our hope that not only will the content resonate with viewers, but that they will feel fully aware of the valuable mental health resources available to them in the Island.”

The Man Up Project film is now available to watch on ArtHouse Jersey Presents via Ben O’Shea’s YouTube channel.

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