Medium and message: YoungMinds

YoungMinds has recruited comedian John Ryan to help encourage dads to talk about their children's problems.

YoungMinds, which promotes child and adolescent mental health, has recruited comedian John Ryan to help target fathers concerned about their children's emotional wellbeing.

Nine out of 10 parents who seek help and advice from YoungMinds are mothers, so the charity wants to engage more successfully with fathers. After speaking to more than 100 of them about the male approach to parenting, Ryan has put together a stage show and five one-minute films.

Ryan's sketches aim to illustrate the pressures of parenthood in a way that is both funny and pertinent, drawing on humour and shared experience. He asks questions such as "My kid's a bit odd; is yours?" - a question every parent wants to know the answer to but most are afraid to ask, he says.

"Parenthood doesn't end at conception," says Ryan. "Dads have got to care and they've got to be positive. The message is that it's OK for men to fret about their kids and to pick up the phone and shout for help."

A spokesman for YoungMinds says: "It breaks the 'real men don't talk about their problems' taboo by getting them to laugh at themselves."

The show, Those Young Minds, has its premiere at Leicester Comedy Festival this month before transferring to London and touring nationwide. The five short films can be seen on YouTube at www.youtube.com/group/youngminds.

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