Heart for a Heart

Suicide is the single biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK. On average 16 men take their lives every day. Those are statistics I was very nearly part of.

A couple of years ago I was overcome with a severe bought of depression. You hear people talk about having "a dark night of the soul", well for me that dark night lasted about 4 very long and arduous months. During that whole period suicide was very much at the forefront of my mind.

Depression is like a virus, it seeps into your bones, into the very core of your being. For those who haven't been through it themselves it's very hard to understand.

For a long time I had no one I could reach out to who knew what I was going through. Even the therapists I went to see were of very little help. It was only after I was able to find people who were willing to connect with me emotionally, rather than mentally as the therapists were doing, that I was able to at least start on the long road towards healing myself.

It seems in our society that men are expected to have their shit together at all times, to bear the heavy burdens of life while remaining unwavered. But beneath that rigid mask of masculinity there's a lot of issues that aren't being fully addressed.

The first step towards recovery for me was removing that mask and admitting I had a problem. Allowing myself to be vulnerable and develop the true strength to authentically connect with my emotions. For a man that's often a hard thing to do.

It's important that men open up about these issues otherwise the facade of modern masculinity will remain distorted and promote an unhealthy and inauthentic way of being in the world that will only lead to an increased level of mental health problems and in turn deaths by suicide.

I'm now donating a percentage of profits from this limited edition print to CALM (The Campaign Against Living Miserably 👉 @calmzone) which helps bring awareness to male suicide and its devastating impact by "challenging boring male stereotypes and encouraging positive behavioural change and help-seeking behaviour, using cultural touch points like art, music, sport and comedy."

£50 - 50cm x 50cm - Link to my shop in bio 👉@jamesroperart

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