This short film highlights the urgent issues around men’s mental health

As part of Mental Health Awareness Week, Dazed premieres ‘all good man’, an exploration of depression and the fragility of male pride

Three familiar words are at the centre of Sam Ripman’s poignant short film: “all good man”. Exploring the subject of male depression and the darkness of toxic masculinity, the writer and director shows how ‘saving face’ can be detrimental to a person’s mental health.

“The film is inspired by a trait that I see in myself and others a lot,” Ripman tells Dazed, “telling glossed over or made-up stories to save face and cover what’s really going on.”

all good man centres on Jay – played by Reggie Banigo – who’s been dodging his friends’ calls, unable to bring himself to tell them he’s feeling low. “Sorry I didn’t make it out,” he says in a voice note to his mate. “Everything’s good man. I was planning on coming through. I was out with my college lot in the day – one thing led to another, and we ended up in some club. You know how it is.” 

In reality, Jay is hurting over a recent break-up, and doesn’t want to tell his friends that he went to see his ex-girlfriend, only to have the door shut in his face.

Ripman hopes the story is relatable to viewers in its presentation of “inner thoughts, façade, and the detrimental impact of it”. He says: “My biggest hope is that someone sees the film and recognises when they’ve hidden their truth in the same way Jay does, and so the next time they might check themselves. As it crassly says at the end: ‘open up’.”

“It’s good that more men are seeing how letting yourself be vulnerable to others isn’t just fine, but healthy. I think the more that culture can push that conversation, the easier it becomes” – Sam Ripman, writer and director

In March, a study revealed how toxic masculinity is detrimental to both men’s physical and mental health. Traditional stereotypes of men as socially dominant, emotionally strong (see: repressed), and self-reliant are deemed toxic, and can result in harm to society as well men themselves. According to Samaritans, men in the UK are three times as likely to die by suicide than women, with experts citing society’s encouragement of men “to be strong and not admit they’re struggling” as a key factor in these sombre statistics.

In recent years, conversation about male mental health does seem to have opened up, with the topic tackled in Hollywoodby public figures, and through creativity. “It’s good that more men are seeing how letting yourself be vulnerable to others isn’t just fine, but healthy,” continues Ripman. “The more that culture can push that conversation, the easier it becomes.”

He concludes: “I’m happy that me and my guy friends are getting better at saying when we feel low, or when things hurt our pride or self-esteem, but I know there’s still a lot we don’t share. I feel like the more comfortable we are with that conversation, the better we are as friends.”

Watch all good man above.