BRINGING HOPE: Nathan Dennis
A PROJECT aimed at encouraging men to be more vocal about issues and challenges in their lives is about to launch in Birmingham.
Silent Screams, run by the Birmingham-based charity Bringing Hope, will host its first official event at the Drum Arts Centre in Aston on August 23.
It will explore in depth the struggles that men everywhere experience silently in everyday life and aim to equip them with the tools to cope better when times get tough.
Nathan Dennis is the man behind this scheme who works for Bringing Hope, an organisation which is now marking a decade of changing hearts and minds through its work in prisons, on the street and in the community by helping those caught in cycles of pain and disaffection.
The tragic suicides of two men brought home to Dennis the heartache this caused for their families, who he supported in the aftermath of their deaths.
“The macho, hard man image that is perpetuated by black men makes all this particularly hard to cope with,” said Dennis, a father-of-four.
“Men are encouraged to have a certain amount of bravado. They are not honest with themselves. A silent scream is far louder than anything you will ever hear.
“Men often internalise their feelings and struggle to say what’s in their heart. Men tend to suffer in silence. That silence can speak volumes in terms of actions. Those actions manifest themselves through anger, pain, hurt and confusion.
“Men become victims of their own silent screams. This is a project that aims to show men that they are not alone and that it’s ok to get in touch with and speak about their real feelings.”
The event at The Drum will include talks from Dr Martin Glynn, an academic who specialises in criminology with a focus on race. The Rev Carver Anderson and Robin Thompson, of Bringing Hope, will also be taking part.
A series of events, workshops, forums and seminars will regularly take place following the launch in order to encourage men to articulate their feelings.
These will be organised by men who have experienced their own silent screams and managed to overcome them.
Dennis feels it’s important to bridge the gap between men and their emotions, something which he believes is not done enough in today’s society.
“Men are often the forgotten victims – some can experience a lack of identity, violent behaviour, abuse, incarceration, struggling to come to terms with being an absent father and dealing with unhealthy relationships.
“Who is there to hear the men’s side of the story?”
To mark the launch, the project has also just released an album with 16 tracks from up to ten different artists.
Each track focuses on an issue such as bereavement, relationship difficulties, a song about an absent father’s letter to his son and the frustrations of a difficult relationship.
Dennis said: “The album, which is available now to download online, is not all doom and gloom.
“Some tracks are very encouraging. This is real music for the soul and features a number of top urban Midlands artists.”
For more information about the Silent Scream project go to www.notaloness.co.uk or follow on twitter @notaloness.