Northern Ireland has one of the highest suicide rates in the UK and the majority of suicides are men.
Two-time World Champion boxer, Carl Frampton, explores why so many young men in Northern Ireland are fighting poor mental health and what can be done to help them, in a new BBC Northern Ireland documentary.
There are some areas, such as north Belfast where Carl grew up, that have particularly high levels of suicide. In the film, Carl Frampton: Men in Crisis, the champion boxer reveals how he manages his own issues with mental health.
He talks to young men from all walks of life who have struggled with their mental health – from anxiety and depression to Bipolar Disorder and PANDAS (a disorder associated with Streptococcal infections) – to find out about the issues involved and how they can be addressed. They talk to Carl about their experiences, the help that they’ve received and what they do to manage their mental health and well-being.
Carl visits local hubs that provide young men with a place to talk about, and work through, some the pressures they’re facing and challenge the social stigmas and stereotypes around mental health.
In the film, made by DoubleBand Films, Carl also speaks to experts and academics including Dr Michael Duffy from Queen’s University and Dessie Jones who works in suicide prevention about why suicide and poor mental health appears to be worse in Northern Ireland than elsewhere in the UK.
Carl says: “I didn’t know what to expect when we started this film. I thought my profession made me mentally tough, but I don’t think I was fully prepared for what was to come.
“What I once felt was my weakness I now realise is my strength. The men I’ve met in this film have shown me that all of us can have mental health issues and anyone, at any time, can be vulnerable to poor mental health. So, although we can’t control all the things that affect us, we can control the choices we make and the people we speak to. That can make all the difference.”
Carl Frampton: Men in Crisis is on BBC iPlayer and BBC One Northern Ireland on Monday 8 May at 10.30pm.