The blast of creativity.
The aftermath of new ideas.

19 February 2024

Inside Man

It’s been 18 months since we hosted the inaugural Inside Man event, raising awareness and increasing the conversation around men’s mental health.

This event started initially as a premiere for my short film, A Moment Ago, but it didn’t seem right to do something like that for a 6 minute short film. And the more I thought it over, I came to conclusion that my film should just be one part of a bigger evening. That’s where I came up with the idea for Inside Man, host an evening that used creative expression as a way to get people opening up about men’s mental health.

We had three short films – a documentary by filmmaker Daniel Brereton, ‘Harry’, two narrative films, ‘All Good Man’ by Sam Ripman and my film. Each film was bookended with poetry from Liam Xavier, The Metaphorest and George Lawrence. And we had a wonderfully insightful talk by Dr. Peter Ilves.

Sadly, men aren’t the most open with their feelings or thoughts. Growing up in a society where it wasn’t ‘manly’ to show emotion, or discuss deep feelings and worries meant that side can become closed off. When that happens, difficult things aren’t processed and faced, internal growth can’t happen. This can so often lead to frustration in relationships, unintentionally hurting people we care about and causing isolation in ourselves. That is why the statistics for self-harm and suicide amongst men is so high – in the UK it is the leading cause of death of men under the age of 45. And yet, some of us have found, opening up caused people to judge or turn away from us. And that is a huge problem.

Inside Man’s aim is to create a safe space for men to open up and hear each other’s stories, with the hope that this helps more to feel safe and open up – person by person gaining the vocabulary to greater express themselves. And equally, give others a better perspective to understand and give the support their male friends may need.

It is my belief that creativity can play an important role in people’s lives when it comes to finding ways to express themselves. Whether you think you’re a creative person or not, we can all be creative – draw, paint, write, sing, dance, photograph, film, bake, make music… anything. This can be such a release to find out about ourselves, tap into our inner selves and express.

Creative subjects at school level are hugely important, not only because it makes up a large percentage of our economy, but also, it’s help in developing people into more rounded humans. But that’s touching upon another topic for another time. Inside Man is but a small step, and the event was a huge success that absolutely floored me. After the films were screened, and the talkers were said their last words, we all gathered and mingled, and I was moved at the amount of men who came up to me after to share their stories, they felt safe enough to open up. And that’s what it was all about.