Using photography to break the stigma around men’s mental health issues
November is men’s mental health month. You may think, “Okay, but what does that have to do with photography?” Well, the two can be connected if you just give them a chance. Imran Nuri uses photography to highlight men’s mental health and break the stigma around it. In this video, he tells you more about it, and I’ll offer some of my own thoughts as well.
You’ve probably heard of Movember, a movement focusing on men’s mental health and suicide prevention, as well as prostate and testicular cancer. In his video, however, Imran sticks with the former, and so will I.
At this moment, he is working on an art series to explore the many ways that people can experience loss and grief. “Men’s mental health is something that is especially important for me,” the photographer writes,” and getting help when I was at a low point was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself.”
In the video, Imran bravely shares his mental health struggles and how he managed to cope with them. I say “bravely” because there’s still a huge stigma surrounding men’s mental health. Us women are usually taught that it’s okay to show feelings, whereas “boys don’t cry” as a famous song would say. Thus, it can be way more difficult for men to process and express their feelings, let alone talk about them. And in my opinion, this is where photography can help, at least partially.
I wrote earlier about how photography helped me cope with a difficult period of my life, so you can read it if you need inspiration. And in that article, I mentioned a close friend who had taken his own life. This is when I started paying way more attention to not only my own mental health but also one of the men around me. And this is when I realized how important it is to remind men that it’s okay to ask for help.
But back to photography. I think that it’s only one step on your journey, but it can be a big one. If you find it hard to verbalize your emotions, expressing them through art can help you recognize them, show them, and ultimately accept them. And once you do, please don’t hesitate to admit if you’re unwell and ask for help.
Make sure to watch Imran’s video above and hear more about his own journey and photography project. And then grab your camera and make your very first step towards accepting yourself and healing. It will help not only you, but also inspire others to get in touch with themselves, acknowledge their emotions or suffering, and try and get better.
Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.