This year there in an extra-special motivation behind a popular charity calendar featuring men from across the region, especially after its production almost didn’t happen.
Photographer Anthony Webb has launched the fourth annual Breaking the Stigma calendar, an initiative he began to help raise awareness and spark important conversations among men regarding mental health.
“The whole point is to try and have that conversation,” he says. “Staying strong doesn’t mean you have to stay silent. Mental health in general is the top of everything, especially these days in relation to the impacts from COVID.”
The calendar has a strong focus on local tradies, who Mr Webb says is one of the main target groups when it comes to men’s mental health.
“I’ve got a lot of friends who are tradies that I’ve seen struggle. I’m seeing how difficult it is to get tradies right now. They are working six, sometimes seven days and they are in high demand.
“Obviously they want the work and want the money but it makes it harder to be able to spend time with family.
“I think having those conversations is most important above all else. There is such a persona about not being able to speak up or have a conversation or a chat because men aren’t supposed to have emotions or show how they feel. The worst part is they bottle it up and bury it and just keep working.”
Mr Webb says it is important to make time to check in with your mates or go and have a feed after work.
No stranger to mental health struggles, the photographer of more than 20 years says the 2022 calendar almost didn’t happen. “This year was a tough year for me. I almost gave up and didn’t do the calendar, but I thought, this isn’t about me; it’s bigger.
“There are so many people who have struggled with mental health this year so I think there was a drive for me to continue to do it purely because I know I’m not the only one going through struggles.
“It’s amazing to see how being part of this can change someone’s life.”
The 2022 edition features 12 local men and Mr Webb says he enjoys spending time getting to know each person and their story.
“Many of them haven’t been in front of a camera before,” he says. “I probably spend 20 minutes with each person and have a chat and get to know them and I’m still friends with everyone who has been part of the calendar in the past.”
The 2022 Breaking the Stigma calendar is out now with all proceeds going to Beyond Blue. Local company Push Productions, charity IFYS and local supporters have also come on board to help make this project possible.
If you, or someone you know, is at risk phone Lifeline on 13 11 14. If you are in a life-threatening situation, call 000 immediately.