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Theatre and council launch drive to reduce stigma around men’s mental health

Stephen Crocker, chief executive of Norwich Theatre Royal, and Margaret Dewsbury, chairman of Norfolk County Council's communities committee. Picture: Richard Jarmy

Stephen Crocker, chief executive of Norwich Theatre Royal, and Margaret Dewsbury, chairman of Norfolk County Council's communities committee. Picture: Richard Jarmy

Richard Jarmy Photography

A month-long drive to reduce stigma around men’s mental wellbeing has been launched by theatre and council bosses.

Norwich Theatre Royal has launched a partnership with Norfolk County Council to deliver the programme of productions, workshops and events to raise awareness and reduce stigma.

It comes as part of the theatre’s Creative Matters series, will run in January and will be aimed at men aged over 30 and their families.

Figures show that middle-aged men in Norfolk are less likely to seek support for their mental health, with suicide rates in the county among men - particularly those aged 30 to 64 - above the national average.

Highlights of the month will include an evening with writer and comedian Karl Minns, which will see him talk about his experience of living with anxiety.

He said: “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 to 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.”

The programme will also include an evening of talks hosted by Menscraft, a local charity which aims to promote positive masculinity, and a stage adaptation of Mathew Johnstone’s bestseller I Had a Black Dog.

Stephen Crocker, chief executive of Norwich Theatre Royal, said: “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.”

Louise Smith, director of public health at the county council, said: “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.”

• To book tickets or for more information, click here.

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