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Man Up or Open Up? was commissioned by The Open University Broadcast & Partnerships team, to create a learning journey from the OU and BBC co-production ‘James Arthur: Out of Our Minds’ for BBC Three. The programme is a deeply personal film featuring singer-songwriter James Arthur, focusing on male mental health. The Broadcast & Partnerships team, inspired by James Arthur’s candid reflections on his own experiences of poor mental health, wanted to explore why men struggle to seek help when in crisis.

Academic contributor Dr Martin Robb, the Open University academic who consulted on the animation, says on the subject “Stereotypes on masculinity often prevent men and boys from seeking help. Despite recent changes in ideas about gender roles and relationships, many young men still feel a pressure to act tough, choosing to bottle things up rather than seek support.“

Produced by Kong Studio and designed and directed by Hannah O’Brien, the animated short film highlights the shocking statistics behind the issue in a tactile and informative way. It also showcases the fantastic work being done by organisations like ‘Alright Mate?’ and brings Dr Martin Robb’s OU research in the area to life.

Commissioned by Chris Belson,

Broadcast Platforms and Public Engagement Manager for The Open University

Academic Consultant for The Open University by Dr Martin Robb,

Senior Lecturer of the School of Health, Wellbeing and Social Care

Kong Studio Production

Designed and Directed by Hannah O’Brien

Voice Over by Ben Ayers

Sound Mix by Fonic

Produced by Emma Burch

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