Project shares men’s mental health struggles and triumphs

February 18, 2021 BY

Scott standing outside his old studio in Queenscliff.

AFTER going through a very dark phase in his life, Ocean Grove’s Scott Andrews has created a book he hopes will encourage boys and men to seek mental health support.

The Man Up Man Down project by Scott – also known as The Travelling Alchemist – is a book that represents the mental health struggles, journeys and triumphs of 50 brave men.

“I created the project shortly after going through a very dark phase in my life in 2019 which lasted about six months,” Scott said.

“In that time I was alone, and had just come out of a very toxic relationship … I lost a lot as a result of that.

“In that time period I had trouble even leaving the house, severe anxiety, depression et cetera.

“I felt like everything was ending, my whole world was turned upside down.

“I would spend days crying for hours on end … anytime I wasn’t in public I would be crying and this just got worse and worse.”

Scott eventually spoke to his GP and started on some meditation.

Slowly he started feeling better until one morning he woke in the early hours and felt a dramatic change within himself.

“It was literally like someone had turned on a switch,” he said.

“I instantly was flooded with creative ideas, which is normal for me, and the overriding idea was this book project.

“It was like a massive download poured into my body, I felt awake again, it was such a relief to say the least.

“So, after all of this, I knew I had to help as many people as possible suffering with mental health issues.”

Scott said the book features 50 men, who each started their Man Up Man Down journey with a wet-plate photograph, and then shared their story through an interview.

His goal is to sell 1,000 copies to start with, giving him about $20-$25k to donate to local charities in the area of mental health.

“I plan to do more of these books in the future as I know now that this is my calling/purpose in life to help other people that are struggling with mental health,” he said.

“Moving forward I will focus on specific groups such as farmers, emergency services, music industry, major sports and use the same model and the donate the same amount as well for each book.

“I will also have an ongoing Man Up Man Down book happening, so the current book is volume one and the next Man Up Man Down book will be volume two.

“Once I have sold the first 1,000 copies of each book I will keep selling the books alongside the charities and donate half of the profits to whatever specific group the book is focusing on.”

Scott said making this book helped with his own recovery from a dark place because meeting and speaking with so many men had reassured him he was not alone with his struggles.

“This is the purpose behind the book… it’s almost like a manual of sorts,” he said.

“If a man is sitting by himself, he can look through the pages and read some stories and hopefully get some comfort and choose to stay in this world.”

For more information or to buy a book, phone Scott on 0488 573 659, head to thetravellingalchemist.com.au or visit his soon to be open studio in about three weeks at 171 Bonnyvale Road in Ocean Grove.

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