Byron Vincent: why men need to talk

Byron Vincent is a performance artist and activist. He is passionate about prevention, challenging stigma and talking frankly about male suicide and men’s mental health. 

Byron tells his story of how he has personally been impacted by the effects of stigma and a lack of awareness that comes from not talking ...

Stigma and mental health

"I understand how in a world full of such blatant and obvious horrors, mental health stigma may seem a bit a trivial or insubstantial, but its affects are very real. Because of stigma I had to give up a career I loved, move away from a city I loved and put myself in a dangerously isolated position for someone with my condition.

"Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK because stigma prevents them from seeking help. All I hope for is that as a society we start focusing on things like evidence and facts rather than perpetuating a torrent of scaremongering and prejudice, because those things truly are dangerous."

Awareness, kindness and mental health

"Sometimes we just need reminding of things we intrinsically know. Occasionally people with mental health issues talk in a manner or context you might find inappropriate or don’t communicate when you feel they should. You may have experienced this and found it frustrating or unsettling and that's okay because you're only human.

"However, if you want to be a next level mensch, try to remember in those moments that it's not their fault and that they aren't being deliberately difficult. Chances are they’re feeling pretty distressed. If you came into contact with someone who was in shock because they'd just been in a car accident, you'd probably just be kind to them and ignore any behaviour you found to be peculiar. 

"Things like shock or psychosis are often just manifestations of pain, they can be complicated to deal with and uncomfortable to be around, but compassion never hurts. If in doubt, just be nice."

Read more on Byron's website

Men less likely to seek help

We know from a survey commissioned by the Mental Health Foundation a year ago involving over 2,500 people who have experience mental health problems that men are far less likely than women to seek professional support for their mental health.

The survey showed that 28% of men had not sought medical help for their mental health problem and only a quarter of men had told a freind or family member what they had been going through. It also showed us that more than a third had waited up to two years or chose never to get help.

Live before you die

This passion to get men talking and accessing services has led him to create a new show with his best friend Dave entitled Live Before You Die.

"What do you do when you have a best mate who is so sad he might die? Especially considering up until now your friendship has mostly consisted of a mutual appreciation of '90s hip hop, borderline alcoholism and finding creative ways to insult each other."

Byron is a bipolar performance artist, Dave only communicates in insults. Together they must find a way to fix Byron's broken soul before it's too late. Funny, tragic and shockingly honest, this is a true story of hopelessness and friendship told by two men on a desperate quest for happiness. Find out more here

They will be hitting the road, touring the UK with the show, and holding local Curry & Chaat events in each area. 

Byron wants to cook a delicious curry and chat to YOU about everything and anything.

Curry & Chaat

The idea for Curry & Chaat came after we analysed the success of our flagship community fundraising event, Tea & Talk and noticed that only 10% of our Tea & Talk sign ups were male. As a mental health charity we feel it's vitally important we reach in particular hard-to-reach audiences like men, particularly as it is well documented that suicide is the biggest killer of men under the age of 45.

The aim of Curry & Chaat is simple, get together with friend, enjoy a great curry and raise money for the Mental Health Foundation. We know that maintaining positive relationships in our life has a significant benefit on our mental health - just as Byron and Dave's friendship illustrates. 

Tuck in for mental heath with Byron!