Norfolk County Council has today announced a partnership with Norwich Theatre Royal to deliver a month-long programme of productions, workshops and special events to help reduce stigma surrounding men’s mental wellbeing. Part of the Theatre Royal’s Creative Matters series, the January programme is aimed at Norfolk men aged over 30 and their families. Statistics show that middle aged men in Norfolk are less likely to seek help and support around their wellbeing – and suicide rates in the county are above the national average – particularly amongst men aged 30-64. Programme highlights include an intimate evening with Karl Minns, where he will talk about his experience of living with anxiety; a stage adaptation of Mathew Johnstone’s bestseller ‘I had a black dog’ and an evening of talks hosted by Menscraft, a local charity which aims to promote positive masculinity.
Karl Minns explains: “With one in four of us experiencing mental-health difficulties every year, it’s still troubling that men, in particular, find it hard to talk about their problems. With suicide a bigger killer of men aged 20-49 than cancer, road accidents or heart disease, something needs to be done. As a sufferer of anxiety and depression, I’d like to share my experiences of how my battles have shaped my life and my career in comedy. I’ll be chatting with Stephen Crocker, taking questions from the audience and performing some Nimmos material and readings from my solo show. Please join me.”
Margaret Dewsbury, Chair of Norfolk County Council’s Communities Committee, said:
“Mental health issues in Norfolk are above the national average so Norfolk County Council is committed to working with agencies across the county to deliver resources to help these people get the support they need.
“It is fantastic to be able to partner with local voluntary and community sector agencies like Norwich Theatre Royal and work closely with Menscraft and MIND to deliver a diverse programme of events that will help explore many of the issues facing older men today. Sitting and watching a performance can be so much more powerful than the written word and Creative Matter’s programme of events provide a perfect medium to bring to life mental health issues across a wide audience.”
Louise Smith, Director of Public Health, said:
“Men are less likely to recognise and seek help to deal with problems, whether they are about their relationships, finances or life changes. It is vital that we find ways in which to encourage people to access support and look after themselves to avoid mental health issues in the future. Norwich Theatre Royal provides us with an accessible, safe space to engage with men. The arts are well documented for providing benefits to well-being so the theatre provides us with a perfect channel to help address issues around men’s mental health.”
Stephen Crocker, Chief Executive of Norwich Theatre Royal, said:
“Creative Matters provides a platform and safe space for people of all ages to explore and engage with key issues in our world today. Following the success of our debut season on gender and sexual identity, we are delighted to be working with Norfolk County Council on a season which focuses on men’s mental health and the stigma surrounding it. Statistics show that men living and working here are some of the least likely to seek help and we hope this season will help show there are people out there to help and reduce the stigma around the whole issue through the power of creativity and discussion.”