Powerful Photos Will Make You Think Differently About Male Mental Health

'All too often images representing mental health conditions play into narrow and outdated stereotypes.'

When it comes to mental health, stigma and stereotyping still prevails - particularly when it comes to men’s mental health.

Suicide remains the biggest killer of men aged under 45, with many unable to cope with or talk about how they feel.

The traditional notion of masculinity is in large part to blame, coupled with mental health stigma leaving many unable to ask for help.

A new photography exhibition hopes to tackle both issues head on, by exploring what it means to be a man in today’s world and shine a light on the limitations of traditional masculinity.

Deal Mitchell / Getty Images

By “re-picturing how such issues are seen” the exhibition, which coincides with Mental Health Awareness Week (8-14 May), hopes to start important conversations about men’s mental health.

The exhibition is a collaboration between Getty Images andThe Calm Photography Movement (TCPM), asked entrants to submit their work, before a panel of esteemed judges choose the final selection.

Lee Martin, SVP EMEA at Getty Images and founder of the partnership with The Calm Photography Movement said: “There’s still massive stigma around mental illness, and all too often images representing mental health conditions play into narrow and outdated stereotypes.

“Depicting diversity accurately is one of our biggest priorities at Getty Images, and we’re committed to creating a range of true-to-life, authentic imagery that accurately and sensitively reflects the experience of mental illness.”

Joel Robison / Getty Images

Nick Knight, British fashion photographer and one of the judges, said: “In most societies, men feel forced into unrealistic and unachievable roles. This can create isolation, loneliness and despair and so when things go wrong - which in life they invariably do - men can feel they have no-one to turn to and no right to seek help from any quarter.

“I believe that the more we break away from using gender as a deciding factor in how we should behave, the more lives will be saved. I wholeheartedly support any initiative that helps raise awareness of male suicide and opens up the conversation, thus reducing this awful and unnecessary waste of precious life and its horrific toll on the wider victims, their friends and families.”

Other judging panel members included Rankin and Monia Takvam. Judges were tasked with reviewing the entries based on composition, originality, technical skills and observance of the brief.

The exhibition is raising money for the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), a male suicide prevention charity, and winning photographs have also been curated into a brochure available for purchase at the exhibition in support of CALM’s work.

The Calm Photography Movement runs from 10 – 19 May 2017 and admission is free. Getty Images Gallery is situated near Oxford Circus, central London. Opening hours are from 10.00am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday and 12.00pm to 5.30pm Saturday.

Useful websites and helplines:
  • Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393
  • Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill.)
  • Get Connected is a free advice service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email: help@getconnected.org.uk