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Mental Health Awareness Month: One Mississippi to discuss men’s mental health

One Mississippi mental health play

Powerful, moving and funny… that’s how director Mark Jeary-Fairbairn would describe One Mississippi – a new show which focuses on men’s mental health and the stigma around it.

Part of the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival and travelling to Inverness and Aberdeen later this week, the new play is based on a collection of interviews with men across Scotland who came from various backgrounds.

Blending humour and storytelling with powerful elements of physical theatre, the show mainly explores the impact of childhood experiences on men’s adult lives.

“In Britain, reports on the suicide rate among British men indicate that it is at its highest level for more than a decade, and parts of Scotland have the highest levels in the country,” said Mariem Omari who wrote One Mississippi.

“In conjunction with this, new research suggests that childhood trauma is one of the leading causes of substance abuse and depression later in life.

mental health play One Mississippi is on its way to Aberdeen and Inverness.
One Mississippi – which is about men’s mental health – is on its way to Aberdeen and Inverness.

Moving yet funny

One Mississippi’s director Mark Jeary-Fairbairn says that while the show is incredibly powerful and moving, it’s also very funny.

“There are a lot of laughs and people are allowed to laugh,” said Mark.

The play – which marks the Mental Health Awareness Month (May) – aims to highlight the importance of talking about men’s mental health.

The director said: “I’ve had problems with my own mental health and struggles with addiction. I don’t think people realise the more we push it down and don’t talk about it, the more we give it to future generations (struggles with mental health).

“Men are brought up just to ‘get on with it’.”

And while there’s undoubtedly still a stigma around mental health, Mark thinks it’s “slowly getting better… but there is still a long way to go”. He’s certain that talking more openly about people’s struggles and seeing such conversations in pop culture will have a positive impact.

“The more that we see plays like this and things on TV where people are shown as rounded human beings rather than just struggling, the more likely it is, I think, that people will discuss it.”

One Mississippi mixes humour and storytelling with elements of physical theatre.

But why is a show about men’s mental health called One Mississippi?

“Oh I don’t think I can tell you because it’s part of the plot,” said Mark, laughing.

“Come and see the show and you’ll find out why – it has nothing to do with the place or the American TV show.”

How to book tickets to see One Mississippi in Aberdeen and Inverness

Click here to buy tickets to see One Mississippi at Eden Court in Inverness on Wednesday May 11 and here to purchase tickets for the Aberdeen show on Saturday May 14.

The Aberdeen show is also part of Rise Up! – a weekend celebrating black and people of colour creatives in Aberdeen. Click here for more information about this weekend’s festival.

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