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Introducing Boys in Mind!

In the lead-up to World Suicide Prevention Day, we are teaming up with Boys in Mind, a CIC devoted to challenging the stigma surrounding mental health in children and young adults, here is Andrew Hassenruck from BiM to take you through Jim and Will's Story!

It's very brave to sit down in front of a camera and open up about your feelings on film. This is what Jim and Will did last year. Sometimes our stories just need to be told and being given the time and attention to be heard is all that it takes.

I am Andrew and I am one of the filmmakers for the charity Boys in Mind. I love being able to sit with people, hear them talk, and work out what it is they felt about a particular time in their lives.

In Jim’s Story he talks about being the dad of a teenage boy who no longer wants to be alive. In Will’s Story he talks about how he felt during this time and what changed and helps him now.

For Will, like many young people, being a teenager was hard, it was a time of peer pressure, of feeling different and isolated. As he said “My relationship with my dad at the time wasn't very good. As I got older we talked less and less, I felt as if we didn’t have any connection. I didn’t really tell anyone as I thought I would be sort of a burden.”

For Jim it was difficult to spot the warning signs and understand Will’s mental state. “As a parent of a child who has low self-esteem, doesn't like themselves, has suicidal thoughts, I got things wrong. I thought I was doing the right thing but I didn’t take into account what he needed.” It was also a time of self doubt and feelings of failure. “As much as he was lost I think that I was lost with him and I blame myself”

Through the intervention of friends and family Will got the help he needed to stop himself from ending his life. He still has difficult days but is now able to put them in perspective and to know they will pass. He is working full time and shares a house with Jim.

Jim - “Where I am now it's such a different place and I didn't think we were going to get there. For me Will’s here and he's remarkable whatever he does”

Will - “I'm very grateful for the relationship that we have now, it's brilliant, that’s all I ever wanted, for us to be able to talk about stuff and hang out.”

Sometimes it feels ok to share your story with one other person but seeing yourself talking in an undefended way is another level of opening up. I showed the films to Jim and Will and for both of them it was a very emotional experience witnessing each other expressing their feelings about a very painful time. The idea of then sharing those same emotions with the rest of the world takes another level of courage.

Will was immediately excited to get the film out there because “If it could help one other young person stop and think about what they were about to do then I want them to see it.”

You don’t need a camera though to give someone your time and attention, ideally you just need to find a quiet place without distractions and make the time to listen, without judgement and without the need to try and fix them. Believe me when someone is giving you their attention and truly listening to you then you really know that you have been heard. In our busy world maybe we could make an effort to make time to listen to somebody today and also to share our own vulnerabilities with others.

I’ll leave the final words to Jim. “Being open and talking honestly on film was scary but at the same time very uplifting and freeing. It was a very safe space to be able to share. I think it is so important to listen to your feelings and to share your feelings with others. It has helped me build stronger relationships with my son Will. By sharing my feelings and emotions on film it has really helped me to diminish those uncomfortable feelings such as shame or guilt, and has been another tool to help me heal.”

Please check out our website for other films, blogs, podcasts and resources about suicide and mental health or if you can spare some money then go to our Just Giving page. Every little helps us to help others to reduce the shocking suicide rate in boys and young men.