The work of Men’s Talk in Kirklees, a creative performance project for men who are living with long-term mental health issues, is being highlighted on World Mental Health Day.
Men work together in a group to create scripts based on their own experiences of living with mental ill health, then perform the scripts to an audience.
The group is looking forward to creating and touring a new performance in the new year after a successful funding application to Kirklees Council’s ‘Do Something Now’ fund.
The project began last summer with a series of theatre workshops in Huddersfield and Dewsbury, resulting in the group performing to a 300-strong audience at the John Smith’s Stadium on World Mental Health Day 2018.
The men went on to tour 19 venues over the following six months, performing to mental health professionals, NHS workers, teachers, community groups, mental health service users and Department for Work and Pensions staff.
The group was developed and is run by Community Engagement Worker Stuart Hawkes for Community Links Engagement and Recovery (CLEAR) in Kirklees.
Stuart said: “We wanted to engage the wider public in dialogue about mental health and reduce the stigma that surrounds it, and for people to understand what the men had experienced and what needed to change. We want our performances to show men that mental health issues can have an impact on anyone. It’s not a sign of weakness.
“We want them to know that there is help out there and that things can get better.”
There is evidence to show that creative performance can promote positive mental health.
For more information about Men’s Talk contact Stuart on 07391 868752.