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Posted on Jan 15 2024 by Fiona Bailey

St Andrew's Healthcare and Workbridge has teamed up with car meet groups to host an event which will target men and their mental health.

Lani Tebbutt, who started Breaking Silence last year, has partnered with Petrolheadonism to host a unique car meet event for car enthusiasts at Workbridge café site on Bedford Road in Northampton.

Held on Friday, February 2, attendees are being invited with – or without their car – to turn up from 6pm where visitors can participate in an outdoor car cinema experience and a car meet. The event has been created to mark the nationwide Time to Talk campaign.

Lani Tebbutt started the mental health carmeet group Breaking Silence last year

Since Lani started Breaking Silence last year the car meet group has become hugely popular

Sat in their vehicles outside a large big screen, while eating popcorn, the outdoor car revellers will be treated to a short film featuring several male local personalities, top car influencers and successful people from the automotive industry.

All the film contributors have been selected because they are deemed leaders or successful at what they do, and they agreed to share 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.”

For those who choose to remain in their vehicles at the car meet, they will be treated to the blockbuster movie The Fast and the Furious, while others can roam round and mingle with other attendees and those who have been invited to support attendees who may need it.

Lani, 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.”

The Workbridge car meet cinema experience event is taking place on Friday, February 2 from 6pm. It is free to attend and the café will be open for anyone who wishes to purchase food.

The short film – Men’s Mental Health Matters Too – will be shown at 7pm, followed by The Fast and the Furious.