Jenny Fisher from the Critical and Community Psychology Research group is involved in a new project to give a voice to young men suffering in silence via video booths.
Boys Don’t Cry aims to explore the gap between growing mental health issues and risks for young males and their access to support services in the Everton area of Liverpool.
Researchers will travel the city, visiting community locations with a video booth to engage young men in conversations about their mental health, their experiences and if they know what mental health services are available to them.
Men are experiencing a mental health crisis. Suicide is the single biggest cause of death among men under 45 in the UK and in 2014, male suicide accounted for 75% of all suicides. According to the charity Campaign Against Living Miserably or CALM, there is a cultural barrier preventing men from seeking help when they need it as it equates to weakness and a loss of masculinity. Talking about mental health and access to services could prevent hundreds of male suicides.
Impact and importance
The project will be led by Dr Jenny Fisher, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Social Care and Social Work at Manchester Met and Professor Mark Anderson from Edge Hill University.
Dr Jenny Fisher said: “Young people, especially men, can be disconnected from mental health services. The Boys Don’t Cry project will give us an opportunity to explore a socially innovative way of engaging with young men and at the same time providing a space for them to talk.”
Boys Don’t Cry was awarded funding through a HEFCE Social Innovation Sandpit which brought together participants to develop innovative ideas in interdisciplinary cross-organisation teams. David Sweeney, Director for Research, Education and Knowledge Exchange at HEFCE, said: “I am delighted with the quality of projects developed at the social innovation sandpit which we co-designed in association with the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement. The projects will apply existing research and knowledge in order to focus on a range of pressing social issues.”
This research will allow the real experiences of struggling men to be recorded and shared with policy makers, commissioners and service providers in order to identify the barriers, offer solutions and improve accessibility to services. The accounts would also be used as training and teaching resources for paramedics, police forces, social care practitioners and youth workers.
Boys Don’t Cry is a five-month project that will begin this month.