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Bristol film-maker premieres powerful documentary on male mental health after childhood best friend took his life

A Bristol film-maker has produced a documentary to raise awareness of male mental health, after his best friend took his life. Credit: ITV West Country

A Bristol film-maker is premiering his documentary to raise awareness of male mental health after his best friend took his life at the age of 38.

Ben Akers is on a mission to encourage men to talk about mental health and hopes that his film will spark a conversation and save mens' lives.

In the process of making the film, Ben has already helped 28 men seek help - and the number is still rising.

The documentary, titled 'Steve', hopes to encourage other men to talk about their mental health struggles and seek help earlier. Credit: ITV West Country

It's the biggest killer of men under 45. The more we talk about that and the more we make people aware, then hopefully we can stop men doing this.

– Ben Akers

In the UK men are three times more likely than women to take their own lives, according to the charity Samaritans.

In the West Country in 2017, 510 people took their lives. Nearly three quarters of those were men.

510
Number of people that took their lives in the West Country in 2017. Source: Latest ONS figures
372
Number of men who took their lives in the West Country in 2017. Source: Latest ONS figures

The premiere of the film will take place on Thursday 21 March in St George's Concert Hall, Bristol.

Ben and his team want to screen the film in pubs up and down the country so that men watch it and feel able to talk about their own experiences.

Ben has spent most of the process working at home, using a wall of post-it notes to log his ideas. Credit: ITV West Country

To watch the full trailer, click here.

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If you are struggling, or know someone who is, there are several organisations that can provide help and support: