The Full Monty tells the story of a six unemployed men from Sheffield who decide to form a striptease act in an attempt to change their fortunes. But they confront a number of mental health issues along the way.
The film was a major critical success grossing over $250 from a budget of less than $3 million. This made it the highest grossing film in the UK until it was outsold by Titanic.
The Full Monty gathered critical acclaim in a number of fields winning 35 awards including recognition for choreography and an Oscar for best music:
But looking back it’s down to earth discussion of male mental health issues also deserves recognition.
On their journey the six former steelworkers confronts depression, suicide erectile dysfunction (ED), and body image in the wake of redundancy.
However light hearted, the film normalises mental illness by demonstrating it’s frequency. It shows that ‘blokey’ men can have non judgmental conversations about mental health. It also highlights the value of peer support but doesn’t shy away from how difficult men find it to talk about these issues.
Although peer support is advocated by the Royal College of Psychiatrists it isn’t always enough. From a mental health perspective, the most frustrating element of the lovable characters stories is their failure to seek professional help.
The effects of Unemployment
The Full Monty also tackles the impact of unemployment which has a huge effect on psychological well-being. So much so research indicates unemployed people are two to three times more at risk of death by suicide than fully employed people.
A study looking at the effects of unemployment in Bradford took people who lost their job during the 2009-2010 economic recession. It found three main experiences that made involuntary unemployment a serious detriment to mental health:
- Inability to pursue goals: Immediately people are unable to save, buy/do the things they want. In the long term career is damaged or lost.
- ‘Spoiled identities’: People suffer an identity crisis during the image transition from someone who works to someone who doesn’t. They may experience ‘unemployment stigma’ and ‘welfare stigma’.
- Destruction of routine: People suffer a loss of structure and motivation in their lives.
If you feel affected by any of the issues and need someone to talk with the Samaritans are always happy to listen. They provide a 24 hour, free and confidential service:
Call 116 123
Featured image accredited to C Jill Reed