A Herefordshire family’s tragic loss has been the motivation to shine a light on the often private miseries of men with mental illness.

Men Open Up, a powerful photographic exhibition in Hay-on-Wye, is aimed at raising awareness among men suffering in silence. The month-long exhibition is supporting the charity CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably), and curated by Hay photographer Billie Charity.

The exhibition at Thru The Lens gallery, owned by Andra Milsome, is dedicated to Billie’s 40-year-old brother Stan, who took his own life three years ago.

“My hope is that it might encourage men to open up and talk about their mental health, to their mates and their families, to seek therapy from the many different types that are out there, and to find peace and calm through creativity,” she said. “My brother Stan never spoke about his mental illness, he covered it up. The impact on my family has been been massive,” she said.

Billie’s work is renowned for its empathy and her studies of local men who have experienced mental health difficulties are featured in the current exhibition.

Pictures by Hereford-based psychotherapist and photographer Clive Oxford are also included in the show.

  • Men Open Up is on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays until February 28.