In 2018, the suicide of his childhood best friend, Steve, sent Ben Akers, ex-creative director of Australian sustainability creative agency, Republic of Everyone, on a journey to prevent more men from dying because they didn’t discuss their problems.
In March last year, Ben Akers launched his documentary, Steve. The film, Steve, to prevent male suicide, to make men understand and respect their mental health.
After Steve, Akers created Talk Club, which now has more than 1300 members, 35 physical groups, with nearly 200 men in its Sydney group and over 100 in Western Australia. Talk Club toured the UK, screening Steve and beginning conversations that helped men to come to terms with their inner world.
Akers’ TEDx talk went live on Friday, July 24, and viewed more than 50k times over the weekend.
“I grew up admiring TED talks. When I lived in South London (and come to think of it Sydney) I’d regularly fill my commute to work with ‘Ideas worth spreading’ ringing through my ears.” Akers’ writes in TEDx, Tears & Talking, in his blog.
“I’ll be honest I never thought I’d have anything worth saying – and still every day I wish I didn’t. But as I say in my talk, ‘I can’t go back, so I have to go forward. I can only try to help the next Steve’.”
Read the full story, and others that document Akers’ journey, here.
Akers has gone forward. His new project, OurKidsOurLives, is an exploration of the mental health of kids, which he is creating in the same “Film for Change” way that drove the development of Steve.
“Suicide is currently the biggest killer of young people in the UK. (Writing that sentence makes me feel sick, but as I do, I know that this film needs to be made),” Akers notes.
“And that’s before the global pandemic. Our children’s mental health is currently being tested to an unprecedented level.”
OurKidsOurLives is looking for funding. If you’d like to help, or find out more, click here.