Bedford car-meet groups hosting cinema drive-through for men’s mental health

They’ll be meeting up next month – and you can watch The Fast and the Furious
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A man from Bedford who set up a car-meet which promotes positive mental health says the motoring community has helped him and so many others when it comes to looking after their minds.

Ciro Ciampi – who runs Petrolheadonism – was diagnosed with depression in 2016 which he has overcome through taking and regular therapy. He started the Bedford group in 2017 and now people come from all over to share both their love of cars and their mental health experiences.

He said: “Despite how far we’ve come as a society, when it comes to poor mental health among men, there’s still a stigma that you must be strong and ‘man up’. Men have feelings too and yes it’s OK to share, and yes it’s OK to cry. We really need to move away from this anarchic approach that men must be OK all of the time and keep it bottled up.

Ciro Ciampi is the founding member of the car group Petrolhedonism Ciro Ciampi is the founding member of the car group Petrolhedonism
Ciro Ciampi is the founding member of the car group Petrolhedonism

“We’re thrilled to be a part of this event and we’re inviting everyone down to share their thoughts, meet new people, and to look at some pretty nice cars.”

Ciro has teamed up with another car-meet group called Breaking Silence and mental health charity St Andrew’s Healthcare to host the event which will encourage young men to open up about their feelings and struggles.

Held on Friday, February 2 at the Workbridge café site on Bedford Road, Northampton, the event is part of the nationwide Time to Talk campaign. Both car groups are inviting all their members and any young people who may be interested in finding a new community, to come down from 6pm where visitors can participate in an outdoor car cinema experience.

Sat in their vehicles outside a large big screen, while eating popcorn, the outdoor car revellers will be treated to a short film featuring several male local personalities, top car influencers and successful people from the automotive industry.

Lani Tebbutt launched car meet group Breaking Silence last year and it has been a big success Lani Tebbutt launched car meet group Breaking Silence last year and it has been a big success
Lani Tebbutt launched car meet group Breaking Silence last year and it has been a big success

All the film contributors have been selected because they are deemed leaders or successful at what they do, and they agreed to share their mental health experiences, how their moods can fluctuate, the symptoms they experience and what they do to mitigate those feelings.

St Andrew’s Healthcare’s Vivienne McVey said: “Men are three times more likely to die by suicide in England than women, which is why as a charity we wanted to host an event which focuses on males and their mental health.

“These figures speak for themselves, and it’s time society embraces and encourages men to openly talking about their feelings and emotions. All are very welcome to the event – men and women – but we hope that our video prompts some invaluable conversations among our male attendees so together we break down the stigma that is commonly associated with complex mental health.”

For those who choose to remain in their vehicles at the car meet, they will be treated to the blockbuster movie The Fast and the Furious, while others can roam round and mingle with other attendees and those who have been invited to support attendees who may need it.

Lani, who has had her own struggles with poor mental health, explained why she started Breaking Silence. She said: “When I was at school I felt outcast and I later found out I had ADHD. Additionally I dealt with some trauma in my late teens which eventually led to me attempting to take my own life multiple times.

“I wasn’t eating and I was self-harming. I felt hopeless. I started to get into modifying cars and went to a few meets, but I felt too anxious to stay. So I decided to set up my own group with a focus on mental health. The Breaking Silence car meets saved my life. They really gave me purpose and it’s taken off, so I’m obviously not the only one who wants to combine their car passion within a safe community.

“A large percentage of our Breaking Silence members are male, hence why we’re pleased to be involved in this event. It’s so important to us that everyone within our community that every male member feels safe and that they can talk about their mental health with others in the group.”

The Workbridge car meet cinema experience event is taking place on Friday, February 2 from 6pm. It is free to attend and the café will be open for anyone who wishes to purchase food.

The short film – Men’s Mental Health Matters Too – will be shown at 7pm, followed by The Fast and the Furious.

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