Real-life experiences prompt ex-Sheffield firefighter to release debut film on men's mental health

After seeing countless deaths involving men who took their own lives, a former Sheffield firefighter wanted to do something about it.

Tuesday, 28th January 2020, 2:03 pm
Former firefighter Joe Zalias releases a short film highlighting issues surrounding men's mental health.

Having recently left the profession after being in the line of duty for 10 years, 33-year-old Joe Zalias of High Green decided to make a short film highlighting issues surrounding men’s mental health that is slowly turning into a silent killer.

Titled ‘Male Privilege’, the 2-minute film depicted three different actors – all with real-life stories – taking their own lives using different methods at different locations and under different circumstances.

Mr Zalias, now a stand-up comedian, said the film is aimed at conveying a message that men earn a higher suicide rate to that of women.

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“As a comedian, I wanted to be divisive and ruffle some feathers because I am seeing more and more messages that men are ultra privileged.

“But based from my experiences as a firefighter, I see countless men killing themselves at the rate of four times to that of women. So I linked the two ideas together and that is one more male privilege and we need to talk about it,” he said.

He said the actors all have been affected by one way or another by suicide at some point in their lives.

“One of the three actors’s father had committed suicide and one of them has attempted suicide before.

“The other one has also contemplated suicide,” he said.

Asked whether the film might bring negative repercussions on the society and it clearly shows the suicidal methods, Mr Zalias said he wasn’t perturbed.

“I’m not worried about people being inspired to do it because people usually will make up their minds to do it anyway.

“But this film will hopefully make them think twice about it,” he said.

Mr Zalias said despite having no experience in filming, he said it took him about a week to shoot the film with the first scene being shot with a mobile phone.

“And the rest of the scenes was shot using a DSLR,” he said.

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