On Thursday, 16 November, Stewarts held an event to mark International Men’s Day, discussing male mental health. The event featured a talk by mental health campaigner Francesco Moliterno, aka DJ Turno, whose brother Fabio took his own life in September 2021 after years of struggling with his mental health.
Since Fabio’s death, Francesco has been using his platform as a DJ to encourage men to talk more about their mental health. Francesco started What’s on your mind?, a charity based in Bedford that focuses on breaking down barriers surrounding mental health. He also recently featured in a BBC documentary about the impact Fabio’s death has had on his family.
Male suicide statistics
According to the Office for National Statistics, 75% of people who take their own lives in the UK are men. Samaritans reports that in 2021, the male suicide rate was 15.8 per 100,000 people. In comparison, the female suicide rate was 5.5 per 100,000.
The event was hosted by the firm’s Gender, Parenting and Carer’s Focus Group and mental health first aiders, who were both keen to highlight this issue to help focus attention on it as we mark International Men’s Day.
The impact on Francesco’s family
During the session, Francesco talked about Fabio’s death and its impact on his family. He said Fabio was the life and soul of the party and always seemed fine. He ran his own business and was well-known in the community. Fabio’s death means the family now checks in on each other much more frequently and sends supportive messages.
‘What’s on your mind?’
Francesco produced a song in Fabio’s memory called ‘What’s on your mind?’. After writing the song, he realised there was space in the music industry to be open and speak about mental health, and he was inspired to start this charity of the same name. Francesco said people regularly find an escape from their problems in the music scene with friends. His goal for the charity is to have a presence at all major music events in the UK to create a safe space where people can speak openly about their mental health.
Francesco then took questions from the floor. One asked about the variety of stories and reactions he had come across while doing this work. He explained that all the stories of people struggling are wildly different, but he is fortunate enough to meet some inspiring people trying to change the narrative.
Francesco was asked why so many men struggle to speak about their mental health. He thinks this is a trait from previous generations where men feel they have to be ‘strong’ and not show emotion. Francesco discussed how his being openly vulnerable, for example, crying in front of the cameras while filming the documentary, has made people realise it’s okay to be more open.
Lastly, Francesco shared some insights into the coping mechanisms he has in place for dealing with his mental health. Being active in the gym is a big release for him. He has also been trying recently to take cold showers and ice baths, which he says has helped. He stressed that the most important thing is to find what works for you and schedule the time you need.
Stewarts’ mental health first aiders
Stewarts has several qualified mental health first aiders who act as a point of contact for anyone in the firm who feels they need support. Mental health first aiders are available and on hand to spot the signs and symptoms in employees who may be struggling. We are not just relying on individuals to come forward to state they feel stressed. Instead, colleagues are looking out for each other, talking to one another, and encouraging more effective ways to deal with stress and mental health issues.
You can find further information regarding our expertise, experience and team on our Diversity and Equality pages.
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