Campaign to raise awareness of men’s mental health names competition winner

John Barton Poster Entry

John's winning poster

 A Leeds Met student has won a poster competition aimed at raising the awareness of mental health amongst young men.

John Barton, a second year Graphic Design student at  the University was crowned the winner of the ‘Big Boys Should Cry’ campaign which was set up by the Leeds Met Students’ Union.

The campaign aims to raise the awareness of the Leeds Met Counselling Service amongst young male students and to break down the stigma attached to men seeking counselling. The winning poster which was entitled “I had the balls to go to counselling” was chosen from a shortlist of 12 and will appear in around 25 participating bars and clubs regularly visited by male students.


John and his winning poster at the awards

Elizabeth Taylor, PR Officer for Leeds Met Students’ Union said: “We were shocked to find that many male students put off seeking counselling because they see it as dent to their masculinity.  The counselling service deals with a myriad of different cases, so however big or small the problem we want our male students to feel comfortable in seeking help. We believe with our campaign can make counselling more accessible to male students.  

Counsellor at Leeds Met, Sue Dominey said: “It can be difficult to admit you are experiencing problems, feeling emotionally upset and worried, if everyone else around you appears fine. Sometimes men wear a ‘mask of cool’ on the outside, which hides inner distress and vulnerability. I believe it is a sign of strength and courage for a man to ask for help.”

Not only does John’s poster become the face of the Big Boys Should Cry campaign, his prize also includes gig tickets for The Cockpit, a book on poster design from OK Comics and a gym membership.

John said: “I wanted my poster to be memorable and to really make a difference to the lives of my fellow male students. I felt it was important to add a touch of humour, however. Behind the humour, the poster maintains a powerful underlining message that it takes guts and honesty to seek counselling.”


  1. Hi, I would love to use this image in one of my flyers. I’m a therapist in Kingston, Ontario and see a lot of University/College Students. Could you email me John Barton’s email or pass this message on to him so that I can get the said permission? Thanks so much, Robin,

  2. We also love this poster. Please can we use it at our Sixth Form College where we have a football academy as well


  1. […] practice as well as building up their portfolios.  Previous campaigns they have run include ‘Big Boys Should Cry’ in which they promoted their University’s counseling service with excellent […]

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