Guernsey Press

Don't bottle it up: filmmaker urges men to be more open

IT IS OK for men to talk about their problems, says Gaz Papworth, who has turned a personal tragedy into a documentary film focusing on the journeys men make with their mental health.

Gaz Papworth had a promising military career, but the sudden death of his mother led to him leaving the Army and returning to Guernsey. (Picture by Adrian Miller, 25528141)

The film, Man Down, follows the stories of different men in very different but nonetheless challenging roles.

It shows them from their darkest times, through a recovery process, to a positive point further down the line.

Mr Papworth hopes that the stories these people tell, and the traumatic experiences they have been exposed to, will inspire other men who are not open about their emotions to release that stigma.

A screen shot from Gaz Papworth’s film, Man Down, involving firefighters from the Guernsey Fire & Rescue Service.

‘It all started as an idea about six months ago, I have always enjoyed filmmaking and wanted to do something that was personal and close to me.

‘The stories I have heard from the people I have interviewed are so traumatic, but they can and do have a really positive outcome, even though they have come from a dark place.

‘Like the firemen who debrief around the table afterwards really to get stuff off their chest from the experiences they have just shared, it is the same with the ambulance crews.’

Mr Papworth also interviewed a Coastguard staff member who had been to numerous suicides and could not quantify the effects of each experience until he recovered the body of a child.

‘I was in the Army for four years,’ said Mr Papworth. ‘When I was there my mum passed away really quite suddenly. My career at the time was going quite well I was looking at promotion, but with the passing of my mother everything began to unravel.

‘I left the forces and moved back to Guernsey in 2017 where I took some time to myself, now I am a prison officer full-time and I have been doing the documentary in my spare time.

Man Down, which premieres on 16 September, was made by Gaz Papworth in his spare time.

‘I want men to know that it is OK to talk and not bottle their problems.

‘All proceeds from the film, both in ticket sales and donations, will go to Man Club and Guernsey Mind so they can further their work into this area.’

Mr Papworth, after some persuasion, managed to get actor and voice-over artist Shaun Dooley, from SAS Who Dares Wins, to do the narration on the documentary. He also hopes to get him over for the premiere.

. Man Down will premiere, with an open bar and presentation after the film, at The Princess Royal Centre for the Performing Arts on Monday16 September.

Normal viewing, same location on Thursday 19 September.

Tickets are on sale at