It’s Always Okay To Vent

Hear from Freddie who encourages males to speak openly about their mental health through his online platform and social community.  

Written By Freddie Cocker

‘Two and a half years ago, I went for lunch with my best mate Hannah and pitched her an idea: a platform where everyone, but especially men and boys, could open up about their mental health issues, break down stigmas and start conversations. I said to her that whenever someone came to me and wanted to have a deep conversation or get something off their chest, they’d always use the word ‘Vent’ and that if I was going to do something, I would call it that.

I had wanted to do something in mental health since I was 15. I was on the verge of taking my own life and without going into the details, was metaphorically and literally one step away. However, something stopped me. At the time, I thought it was my own fear and cowardice from inflicting such pain on myself. Now I realise what stopped me was the last shred of my self-worth telling me not do it.

In that moment I no longer felt like a human being or someone capable of love, having friends or achieving anything in life. The only drive I had left was to never let anyone else feel the way I was feeling. In that moment, that’s when Vent started.

Fast-forward 10 years and Vent is now a website, a blog, a poetry community, a podcast, a music night but we can do so much more.

Since I started Vent, I’ve had over 50 + public champions and over 20 anonymous champions as well, 19 podcast episodes with more to come and two fantastic music nights. However, this is just the start.

Despite the great progress we’ve made to help men and boys open up, there are still barriers we must overcome. Men and boys are getting better at opening up to their friends but often times, that first conversation is where it ends. As a gender, we must be able to go deeper, “ask twice” and be able to have those conversations, even if it makes us uncomfortable.

We must get better at checking in on those we care about, even the ones who seem on the surface, “completely fine”. Too many times, in the aftermath of an individual taking his own life, we hear a loved one of theirs say “you would never have known there was something wrong”. It’s about time we change this.’