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Posted on Feb 6 2024 by Fiona Bailey

An event held at Workbridge last week to raise awareness of male mental health attracted the attention of ITV Anglia which covered the story on their news programme.

The St Andrew's Healthcare event brought together two major car groups, Breaking Silence and Petrolheadonism, which both focus on mental health among its members. 

Car enthusiasts were invited down to mingle, look at cars and to share how they felt if they wanted to. Revellers were also treated to a showing of the blockbuster film The Fast and The Furious. 

Additionally, a short film was also played out featuring several male top car influencers and successful people from the automotive industry.

All the film contributors were selected because they are deemed leaders or successful at what they do, and they shared their mental health experiences, how their moods can fluctuate, the symptoms they experience and what they do to mitigate those feelings.

St Andrew’s Healthcare’s Vivienne McVey said: “Men are three times more likely to die by suicide in England than women, which is why as a charity we wanted to host an event which focuses on males and their mental health.

“These figures speak for themselves, and it’s time society embraces and encourages men to openly talking about their feelings and emotions. All are very welcome to the event – men and women – but we hope that our video prompts some invaluable conversations among our male attendees so together we break down the stigma that is commonly associated with complex mental health.”

Breaking Silence founder Lani Tebbutt, who has had her own struggles with poor mental health, explained why she started Breaking Silence. She said: “When I was at school I felt outcast and I later found out I had ADHD. Additionally I dealt with some trauma in my late teens which eventually led to me attempting to take my own life multiple times.

“I wasn’t eating and I was self-harming. I felt hopeless. I started to get into modifying cars and went to a few meets, but I felt too anxious to stay. So I decided to set up my own group with a focus on mental health. The Breaking Silence car meets saved my life. They really gave me purpose and it’s taken off, so I’m obviously not the only one who wants to combine their car passion within a safe community.

“A large percentage of our Breaking Silence members are male, hence why we’re pleased to be involved in this event. It’s so important to us that everyone within our community that every male member feels safe and that they can talk about their mental health with others in the group.”

Ciro Ciampi, who runs Petrolheadonism and has a huge online following, was diagnosed with depression in 2016 which he has overcome through taking and regular therapy. He started the Bedford group in 2017 and now people come from all over to share both their love of cars and their mental health experiences.

He said: “Despite how far we’ve come as a society, when it comes to poor mental health among men, there’s still a stigma that you must be strong and ‘man up’. Men have feelings too and yes it’s ok to share, and yes it’s ok to cry. We really need to move away from this anarchic approach that men must be ok all of the time and keep it bottled up.

“We’re thrilled to be a part of this event and we’re inviting everyone down to share their thoughts, meet new people, and to look at some pretty nice cars.”

Click here to watch the short film – Men’s Mental Health Matters Too.