Each issue, Jason Reed recommends a podcast from the charity and causes sector in his Good Samaritan column. His choice for Issue #016 was Russell Kane’s Man Baggage.
Do men really talk? We’re currently facing a major mental health challenge in society with suicide being the biggest killer of men
under the age of 45, so what can we do to make sure we’re really airing our thoughts and fears?
Comedian Russell Kane hosts the podcast Man Baggage where he talks to celebrities and an array of people in efforts to tussle with the real problems that men face. So, how does Russell personally feel about male mental health and how does he like to handle the subject?
RK: Men’s mental health – it’s an iceberg problem. Most of it is hidden – and incredibly deadly. There is a space to use humour and banter to get a certain type of man to engage. That’s the area I’m interested in.
There’s a new episode each Tuesday where Russell leaves no topic off the table! The podcast was previously titled Boys Don’t Cry and this title also perfectly summarised many of the issues that the podcast is inherently about. At what point did Russell personally decide that he wanted to do more for men’s mental health?
RK: When I saw, finally, that the long needed conversation around men’s mental health was beginning – but that it was somewhat dominated by worthiness. There is nothing wrong with worthiness – but a certain type of working-class man is put off by the seriousness of it.
The Russell Kane’s Man Baggage podcast blurb rather wonderfully says it all:
“Russell and his guests explore all the uncomfortable and anxiety-inducing conversations that usually make men run for the door by doing what blokes do best – make daft jokes about them.
Are men biologically more reckless? Are women naturally more assertive than men? Should all men wear a watch? Thought provoking, insightful and laugh out loud funny, Man Baggage takes you to all the best places.”
As Russell points out, as the host he tries to make the conversations funny, accessible and engaging so that we can all partake in the themes. It’s often the case that men can avoid emotional baggage, hence the need for the podcast – what are his personal highlights?
RK: Easily – the episode about heights. I cannot believe what a divisive topic it is to men and women, to reflect on how tall they are, and how much insecurity and toxicity lies beneath it.
What more can we do – what advice would Russell personally give to make sure that we carry on these conversations?
The number one piece of advice I gave to all blokes is check in twice. Most men will tell you everything is okay, so you’re gonna need to be a little bit annoying when you’re checking in with a friend you’re worrying about. Don’t worry about being annoying, you might save his life.