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Union JACK Radio supports world mental health day with emotional 30-part short feature series

Produced by Whistledown, “Minds Over Matter” raises awareness of male suicide, particularly amongst 45-year old’s

The evocative short feature series, further supported by the Men’s Sheds Association, broadcasts on Union JACK radio from 7-11 October 2019


3 October 2019, Oxford: National digital radio station Union JACK has collaborated with leading audio producer Whistledown Productions to create a provocative and emotional 30-part short feature series that aims to raise awareness of male mental health struggles ahead of World Mental Health Day (10 October 2019).


The theme for this year’s World Mental Health Day, as endorsed by the World Health organization; is suicide prevention. Suicide is the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45. Worldwide, 800,000 people die by suicide each year, equivalent to one person every 40 seconds.


Minds over Matter will broadcast on Union JACK radio across the week of 7-11 October 2019 and features interview content taken from conversations with established names from across the British comedy and music scene, who open their hearts to speak about their own personal experiences of mental health issues and other traumas.


Names interviewed for Minds over Matter include comedians Pierre Novellie, Robin Ince and 2019 Edinburgh Comedy award winner Jordan Brookes. Musicians wise, we hear from Babyshambles drummer Adam Ficek, lead sing from Levellers Mark Chadwick and Piers & Kesi from Rudimental amongst others.


The interviews have been sensitively hosted by BBC 6 Music film critic & broadcaster Rhianna Dillon and journalist Beverley Turner. Beverley has first-hand experience of the damage that mental health issues can cause, following her former husband James Cracknell’s near-fatal brain injury in 2010 which, by his own admission; turned him into a completely different person.


The project will be rounded off with two events at the open and close of the week – one live comedy event in the West Midlands and one live music event in the North West of England. The events are being recorded at two of the over 500 sheds that are part of the Men’s Sheds Association. As part of the events we’ll hear some of the incredible real-life stories of how men, and women, aged 45 and above have found friends, community and a new sense of purpose at the sheds.


Minds Over Matter has been funded by the Audio Content Fund, a scheme to provide funding for the creation of original radio and audio production in the UK. The fund is part of a pilot Contestable Fund, financed by the UK Government, to support the provision and plurality of public service content. The Fund is responsible for distributing a grant of up to £3million which will be used to produce distinctive, public service radio programming that is traditionally more difficult to support on a commercial basis.


Giles Gear, Programme Manager for Union JACK radio, said: “With its bold take on the British comedy and music scene, many of Union JACK’s listeners are men aged 45 plus, so this made us a natural fit for this worthy collaboration with Whistledown Productions and Men in Sheds. Through our audience of more than 150,000 weekly listeners, we hope to do our bit of raising awareness of male suicide, particular as we approach World Mental Health Day.”


David Prest, Managing Director of Whistledown said: “We felt it was important to hear the lived experiences of people who’ve suffered with mental health issues. The musicians, comedians and many others we’ve spoken to for this project have gone through some pretty dark times, but there’s genuine inspiration to be drawn from the way they’ve faced up to their demons, and how they continue to deal with their condition on a daily basis.” 


Union JACK broke new ground when it launched in 2016 announcing a format that saw the audience select the music in its entirety, via an app boasting the most extensive playlist in UK radio. Today, the station has become the fastest growing in commercial radio, with a complete focus on the best of British music and comedy, and an array of both high-profile and emerging comedic and musical talent gracing the station’s schedule. 


Union JACK is available across the UK on digital radio, online at and via the Union JACK app.

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