02:02am Sunday 22 September 2019

Project to combat isolation from mental health services

MANCHESTER Metropolitan University are 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 76% 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 Metropolitan University 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 one of six projects awarded funding through the 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 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.

Manchester Metropolitan University is one of the most extensive higher education centres in Europe with 37,000 students and more than 1,000 undergraduate, postgraduate and professional courses. The University educates and trains large numbers of legal and business professionals, scientists, engineers, teachers, health workers and creative professionals.

Manchester Met has invested £350 million in its estate and facilities during a ten-year plan to create a truly world-class campus in the heart of Manchester and in Cheshire.

The University is in the top three nationally for environmental sustainability, in the top 3% of global universities as ranked by the Times Higher Education and has an 85% research impact rated world-leading and internationally excellent.

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