Numbers numbers numbers.

I was thinking about it this morning I’m incredibly proud of what we have achieved.

So far I’ve done 37 live screenings (13 more in the pipeline)

1000s of people have watched it (at screens and online)

Hundreds of thousands have seen press or media stories.

And my job was to help one man.

Well I think we’ve done more than that.

So thank you to everyone who has come to a screening or downloaded the film, Every single of of you are very important to me.


You win some you lose some.

Unfortunately today feels like a loss.

After Leeds last week and a screening of 9.

To 10 in a woodshed in Bristol on Friday.

To 4 in Newcastle today. I’m a bit deflated.

Actually I’m a lot deflated. I’m a 2 week old balloon. That you have to squeeze to prick with a pin because it’s too flaccid.

I knew it was going to be a hard one. Sales were bad for a while. So after a load of Social media, Tweeting everyone that has “Newcastle” and “mental health” in their profiles – and a few that didn’t .

I was even on community radio this morning plugging the night, and still only 6 sold. – and not all of them turn up. It’s hard not to take it personally.

My eldest saying to me “Daddy why are you leaving us again?” – traveling 5 hours to get here ( and longer back tomorrow) Feeling guilty that BrewDog have paid for my Travel and accommodation etc for me to be here.

When is the juice not worth the squeeze?

When the screenings are good they’re great. When they are bad I feel awful. Tonight I feel awful. Let’s hope the people in there think it was worth their time and energy.

*Update – I had a fantastic chat after. And even with a young man who overheard the film and talked about his own struggles. It was worth it. Thank you to he people I met tonight.


Day 5. Back to London for FlyKick.

Ok so this is the the last one of the week. The final furlong. It’s hard to get the energy for it but I’m expecting a nice one. I’m at FlyKick – a posh kick boxing gym near Euston.

It was a younger screening, a hipper one. Sam and Miranda set it up. And I had a great chat about Mental Fitness before the screening we had 18 in the room. A lovely relaxed room.

Mixes of make and female that sparked a fantastic conversation after. 4 men in their 20’s all in football world and all finding it hard to actually look after their minds. Exercise is fine. But one of their friends had taken his life and it’s almost like they hadn’t broached it.

We finished at 10pm. I got to paddington and missed my train. So the last train of the night (the 11.30) – and I walked through the door at 2am.

I was knackered but I could have been worse.

I felt like I made s difference this week.

So now time for sleep.

Next week off to Leeds.


Day 4. Screenings 5 & 6. Prisons 2 & 3

.I’m not going to lie I wasn’t looking forward today. I was worried. I was tiered. And as I got up at 6.15am –  after finally getting to sleep past midnight –  I wasn’t feeling prepared. I had just about managed to process the day before. The thing I was trying to work out was – who am I to tell theses blokes to look after their  mental health?  They are locked up. They are in a place where  their freedom has been taken away –  and not nice things, and not nice people are.
So who is this this twat in an orange jacket who keeps talking about feelings and numbers out of 10? As I walked to Gillingham station from my rather weird hotel I kept going over an over it in my head.
I put up a post on – I have been doing this all week.  And just talking it out on cameras really helped. 
So when I got the train to Sittingbourne at 7.30 am –  Screening 5&6 this #mentalhealthawarenessday done. 2 prisons. Swaleside and Standford Hill both on the Isle of Sheppey. It was an amazing and humbling day. From the 35 men wI started to feel ready for the day.

At  Sittingbourne I met Taff, who works in two prisons across  in the Isle of Sheppey. Ther plan for the day was to go to Swaleside in the morning – a  Cat B prison for men who have been sentenced for 4 years to life and then to Stanford Hill – a Cat D – Open Prison – where men try to adjust to getting out.
I was worried about the Cat B. But to be honest I felt safer there than I did in Rochester.  
As ever technology was a problem. Taff and I spent nearly 2 hours walking from one office to another to collect a protected thumb drive, a laptop that would play and then finally trying to download the film. Which we couldn’t actually put on the drive – because it was all restricted. 
In the end Taff, just dropped me with a bunch of inmates and left – so I just started chatting.
There were 35 there. And it was quite daunting but as I talked it just became obvious that we were all the same, we had just made different choices. One bloke called Jim, was 9 years into a 21 year sentence  – I didn’t ask – I didn’t want to think what someone does to get a 21 year sentence – he talked about how its tough to keep positive, it’s tough as his wife has moved on. It’s tough as he had made some bad choices on the outside – all trying to keep up with that her thought his wife and what he wanted. But doing that hurt his relationships. And although he talks to his kids and sees them once a month he’s failed them. We then talked feelings we talked the need for honest Talking, and one said to me that “Talk Club could change lives in here.”  His honesty was amazing as we talked for 20 minutes – before they were taken back to their cells. And just before they left – he thanked me for coming in. Saying g it means a lot to them for someone to come in from the outside and share what I did. They all took a Talk Club flyer. And who knows if it will help but in all honesty – even theist taking it and reading it – well that information might have just helped. 
 Taff then took me to the Stanford Hill – a Cat D – Open Prison – where men try to adjust to getting out. We had 14 in the room.  And we managed to get round the tech issues by running it off my laptop. 
After the screening we talked about opening up and using the out of 10 system to get men to talk. And it was really good. It wasn’t just the inmates it was the staff and officers as well. 
And as taff dropped me off – and we talked about how I was one of the only people to ever ask him how he was – I really felt like I like I made a difference today. And I’m proud of that.

Day 3 of 5.

Screening 3 and 4. Two very different ones.

Screening one was at Rochester Prison.

A Cat C Prison. Men with under 4 years left on their sentences. It was the first time I’ve ever even visited a Prison, let alone got to walk around and meet people. There was technical issues. Lots of them. Security in prisons is there for s reason. I took absolutely nothing in with me. I got searched. I was only allowed a pen and paper in there. It was intimidating. It was masculine. But it was also an honor. 20 or so men used their gym time or their free time to watch our film. Many of them work inside the prison. And they are in their cells for long periods. So I was thankful for their time.

We chatted about Talk Club. We talked about how it might and might not work in there.

How showing you are feeling anything is hard, as it can be used against you.

But introducing the idea of the Out of 10. From asking it to yourself to maybe a close Pal might work better.

We didn’t manage to finish the whole film – but we got most of it.

And all of them shook my hand and thanked me for coming. And as I stood there with one at the end he said he did believe it could work here. And me coming in made it real. So I feel like I made a difference.

To me the fact that I couldn’t check my phone, or go to the toilet without someone letting me, or even eating or drinking when I wanted was a tiny slither if what it’s like to feel how they feel.

Afterwards Rachel told me one of the inmates said to her – “20 cons in a room and you can hear a pin drop – now that was respect” – so I feel exhausted but good.

The next screening was in Gillingham at a community space called “Sunlight” – Rachel drove us over and we checked it out then went for probably the best curry I’ve ever had.

The evening was then about a variety of local charities/projects coming together around the film. This was always my hope with these type of screening for local charities to use the film as a way to talk to new people. One of those people was a local artist called Jane Benias. She has made a immersive box. To escape into. It was amazing.

The screening was great. An old old friend even came.

I chatted to men in Sheds. To a fellow male mental health campaigner Steve Loft And even people from the Local Fire service who want to explore how we can show it to Firemen. A fantastic long day. And when I finally got to my hotel at around 11pm. I felt like I had made a difference. And that’s all I can do.


Day 2 of 5

Another lovely screening. Another different day. No two screenings are ever the same. The location, the crowd, the purpose.
This one with Publicis Health, about 30 or so in the room. And for them it was about how the company can look after their staff better. What people can do individually as well as collectively.

It was nice. It was easy. No tech issues. No stress. Just nice people. I stayed and watched more than I normally do. And yes, I found a couple of scenes emotional yesterday. I then did the usual leave for a bit and come back.
But this time when I left. I went to the loo and had a little cry. It was nice to shed a little tear for him. I felt good after. Then at the end of screening. I got up did my usual updates of where we are and began to talk about Talk Club. Corporate environments mean people don’t open up as much. But  it was good. Thank you.

Eight screenings in Five days: Day One.

So this Thursday is World Mental Health Awareness Day.

Which tends to mean that all of us working in the mental health space, actually test our own mental health as we are asked to do a lot of talks.

I’ve said yes to 8 screenings in 5 days.

So for this week I’ll be showing and talking about the film as well as #talkclub.

The first one is at BBH. My old ad agency in London.

It’s a fantastic place I called home for 3 years between 2005-08.

As I walked down Kingly Street Iovely memories come flooding in. Drinking in the Blue Post, spilling out on to the street in the summer.

Seeing Victor at security. Then getting in the lift. And out into the main building.

Even though the layout has changed it feels like home. The way a building smells, how it sounds, how it feels. Makes me happy.

I also remembered that Steve actually came here. And I can’t repeat what he said. But it made me laugh out loud.

One of my biggest worries of the screening is – “is it good enough?” My time at BBH was all about that. The pursuit of excellence. I piled so much pressure on myself when I was here. Good and bad pressure. So seeing old faces who might think, “oh that’s a bit shoddy” or my worst nightmare that it drops out of sync. Well those are my anxieties as I write this.

I’ve always felt my time here shaped a big part of me. It was 1 of the 3 most influential periods of my career. It gave me confidence to try stuff, to go for it, and later when I went to Australia, the foundation I learnt here made me bold.

But I feel like that kid again. 11 years on. I still feel like that bloke in a shared house who didn’t know what he was doing.

We had maybe 80 in the room.

That filled with clapping as it finished and I felt very humbled.

Lots of lovely comments – and conversation after – and hopefully we have helped people.

Thank you for having me. Today was a good day.