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Jamal Edwards talks about suicide, depression and men's mental health

We’re supporting The Guardian’s Speak your Mind series – a project shedding light on the impact mental illness has on the lives of young people. 

In this episode Jamal Edwards, founder of film-making company SBTV, speaks to his friends to try and break the taboo around men’s mental health.

Following the death of two people in his area by suicide, Jamal talks about his feelings of responsibility to try and raise awareness around mental health and tell people like they’re not alone. 

When Jamal’s friend Stephen Myth was 8 years old, his dad died by suicide. Stephen later found out that his dad was seriously depressed and never spoke to anyone about the way he was feeling. Stephen talks about his own depression, and how important it is to share your problems with someone else. 

Jamal also chats to Rapman, whose song and video Rollercoaster raised awareness about suicide and depression and premiered on SBTV for awareness campaign, ‘don’t be a statistic’, with CALM and UNILAD in 2015. They explain that the song opened a door to people sending them messages about mental health issues.

“I’ve learnt as the years have gone past to talk to people… whenever anything’s going wrong. I know it’s difficult, it’s not easy and it took me a while to get into the mind-set but I feel much better for it, if you keep it bottled in, it’s too frustrating.” Jamal explains.

The men in the video talk about the negative impact that masculinity can have on mental health. “It needs to stop being a taboo. We need to stop thinking, you know what, if I say this to you you’re gonna think I’m soft,” says Rapman. 

Key facts:

  • Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45
  • 46% of men with mental health concerns say they are ashamed or embarrassed
  • Depression is the largest cause of disability around the world with more than 300 million people suffering globally

Watch the full film below:

Need mental health support or to talk to someone? Take a look at the organisations listed on our website. 

Last updated: 29 March 2017

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