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Eaton Foundation selfie campaign boosts awareness of men's mental health

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: September 04, 2014

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MEN with mental health issues are being urged to 'face up' to their problems in a campaign being run by a Burton-based charity.

The Eaton Foundation is encouraging men to reveal their battles with anxiety, depression and other issues by writing them on their faces and taking a 'selfie' to post on social media.

The #faceupselfie campaign was only launched at the start of the week, and already it has been shared with people all over the country. Organisers hope it could go around the world.

Alex Eaton, founder of the charity, said: "We wanted to come up with something to get men to share their selfies and admit to some of the problems they struggle with.

"Men are known for not telling people about their problems and it's important they talk about things.

"Men are supposed to be the hunter gatherers and the strong ones who don't vent their problems. That's where a lot of problems come from."

The #faceupselfies are intended as a fun way to get people talking about their problems and show that there are places men can go for support.

Mr Eaton was inspired to begin the campaign by the recent ice bucket challenge, which raised awareness of motor neurone disease.

#faceupselfie has already gained celebrity backing, with celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay sending the message out to those who follow him on Twitter.

Mr Eaton said he hoped to spread awareness to as many people as possible.

"One thing the Eaton Foundation is trying to do is challenge the way people think about mental health in the whole, and especially for men," he said.

"It's so important to raise awareness. I'd like the message to go all over the world," he added.

The campaign will run until the end of September.

Pictures can be uploaded to The Eaton Foundation's Twitter feed.

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  • mattlong  |  September 04 2014, 6:44PM

    As someone who manages a long term mental health problem and as an active mental health campaigner I have a number of observations. 1. I have every confidence in Alex Eaton and the ability of her the wider Foundation to make a real difference to the lives of some vulnerable people in our town. 2. We have to accept that we live in a postmodern world where the visual predominates over the written word or conversational discourse. Whilst I do not like this I think this campaign is effective because its both visual and impactive. 3. Whether it (a) challenges existing stereotypes or (b) merely reinforces them depends how the receiver of the visual message decodes the facial image. There is a danger that the facial label of 'Addict' or 'psychotic' if taken by a passive receiver will simply reinforce the label and reinforce the prejudice because it can come to be seen to be what the sociologist Ervin Goffman once called a 'master status'. It defines their total being. If however as judicious receivers of messages we look beyond the label into the eyes and soul of the people who carry the labels on their faces then we can begin to challenge stereotypes by seeing these people as human beings with emotional and social needs which are far more important than the label. Believe me there's massive prejudice against mentally ill people.

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