As a mental health advocate and a national ambassador for Beyond Blue for more than 10 years, I have had the privilege of meeting a diverse range of passionate individuals and groups who are doing outstanding work in the space of mental health solutions.
Scott (Scotty) Andrews is one such person who needs to be commended for his “Man up Man down” book project. It combines his great skill in photography to revive the almost-redundant wet plate photographic process from yesteryear to create a stunning series of portraits of a diverse range of men who have experienced mental health issues. Importantly, all of these men have shared their raw, unfiltered experiences of what it feels like to be consumed by mental health struggles in the hope of inspiring more men to do the same.
Each man has a story of hope and recovery that I am sure will empower and motivate others who may be experiencing issues by reminding them that they are not alone and that help is available. No matter how isolated, lonely or disconnected you may feel, there is always an organisation or an individual who will be prepared to be there for you and provide assistance on the issue that is impacting on your wellbeing.
This book shares 50 different stories of 50 individuals. 50 survivors of various issues relating to mental health. Some will be back to full health with no ongoing issues; others may be subject to ongoing management of their wellbeing; and some will be living in memory of loved ones who have sadly lost their battles.
Now, more than ever, we need to remind ourselves and each other that it is absolutely okay to not feel okay.
The more we open up the conversation about mental health like Scotty, myself and the 49 other brave men have in this book, the more we alleviate the shared suffering of mental health issues. -Tony McManus