#mentalmasculinity: Freddie’s story

With suicide being the leading cause of death among young men aged 20-34 years old, Freddie decided to share his own mental health story.

Due to bullying at school, Freddie Cocker tried to take his own life on one occasion and came extremely close to doing so many more times during his childhood and teenage years.

Despite this adversity, his passion and determination for others to learn about mental health inspired Freddie to set up his own mental health website called ‘Vent’.

Their remit is: helping everyone, but especially men and boys open up about their mental health issues, break down stigmas and start conversations in a safe environment.

Freddie launched the website’s name due to his personal experience with the phrase ‘its okay to vent’.

Freddie’s inspiration for VENT started from a young age. He was bullied in school and developed anxiety, depression and post traumatic stress disorder as a result of this.

Fortunately, sixth form became a place of positivity for Freddie and he was finally able to get help with his mental health at university.

The infographic below highlights Freddie’s journey:

December 2017 – life turns around for Freddie:

After numerous job applications at mental health charities, Freddie wanted a way to help people in his own community. As a result of this passion he set up Vent; an avenue where men can express their feelings and still live a rich life with mental health problems.

Freddie’s mental health website, ‘VENT’.

Freddie stresses:

“It is so important to reduce the stigma associated with male emotions. My aim with the website is to allow men to open up as early as possible to talk about their mental health.

“In the past the portrayal of male mental health was ‘laughed at’ and men were allowed to exhibit emotions such as: sexual desire, bravado and ambition. I felt it was important to help men be vulnerable and make it okay for men to show different emotions of joy, pain and sadness.”

Freddie Cocker, founder of VENT, talks about his passion for reducing the stigma surrounding mental health.

Freddie thinks that breaking down stereotypes associated with males in today’s society is also needed to overcome mental adversity.

Freddie says:

“Reality TV isn’t the sole factor for toxic masculinity but ultimately it reflects the society we live in today and is also projecting unrealistic male body image.

“Reality TV stars are successful because of their ‘alpha male’ appearance, which inevitably cascades onto younger boys who watch reality TV.

“Media and print mediums need to show more vulnerable, sensitive males and showcase men displaying interests in issues other than sport.

“This doesn’t make them any less of a man. As a society we need to create more of a varied ‘ideal’ of what a man is.”

Freddie Cocker, founder of VENT, talks about how reality TV is affecting the portrayal of masculinity.

Just Checking In?

Awareness for VENT has grown through crowd funding and creating music gigs in order to raise money for the running costs of the website, as well as other new ventures like the recently launched ‘Just Checking In’ podcast.

Freddie’s live music event “Just Checking In Live” raised money, created awareness and encouraged more conversation about mental health.

The live music event relates to articles on the VENT website; where VENT mental health champions write about their mental health experiences.

Freddie has also launched his own podcast called “Just Checking In” to create more awareness on social media about male mental health.

Freddie says:

“If I manage to help one person stop themselves from committing suicide or become more accepting of who they are, then I will have achieved what I set out to accomplish.”

Freddie & his friends at VENT fundraiser ‘Just Checking In’.

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