Announcing: New short film "Half a Man" to tackle hidden problem of male mental ill health. 

A Headshot of young actor Danny Barraclough

Rising Wakefield actor and writer Danny Barraclough has partnered with Empath Action CIC to bring attention to the pressing issue of male mental health through their collaborative film project, “Half a Man.” Inspired by Danny’s own lived experience of depression, this impactful short film aims to shed light on a topic that is often overlooked.

Of “Half a Man”, Danny says, “‘Half A Man’ was born out of a time in my life when I was struggling with my own mental health. The effect it had on me during this time opened up my eyes to mental ill health in a way that I couldn’t see before.  I hope that through my film, with the help of the amazing Empath Action CIC who has helped me tremendously already with my vision, we can create something that goes beyond making a short film, but in fact create something that can open other people’s eyes and show others that there is always hope, and in turn can save someone’s life.”

Steven Busfield, co-Director at Empath Action CIC, says that for him this issue is personal. “Like many people in Wakefield, I have experience of depression. When I was in my twenties, I didn’t have a word for what I was feeling, let alone a way to speak about it. When Danny approached me with his short film, it was an instant yes because the script was powerful, authentic, and most of all, necessary. Conversations can quite literally save lives, and this film has the power to spark those hesitant first words. That’s not just important, it’s vital.” 

The production of “Half a Man” has received partial funding from The Rotary Club of Horbury & Ossett Phoenix Trust Fund, which generously awarded Empath a grant of £400 in its Spring funding round, for which we are so grateful. This financial support has enabled the project to cover some of the expenses of making the film. However, to further enhance the film’s reach and impact, Empath is actively seeking donations from local businesses and organisations.

Like in many places in the country, Wakefield District residents are suffering poor mental health. According to the Wakefield JSNA Annual Report for 2023, “The suicide rate for the district is 17.3 per 100,000, which is significantly higher than the England rate of 10.4 (2019-21) and the worst in the Yorkshire and Humber region. The rate is much higher for males (24.1) than for females (10.9), which is a similar picture nationally.” 

These are issues directly highlighted by Danny’s short film.

Danny Barraclough is a talented actor and writer who trained in Wakefield at Wakefield College’s Mechanics Theatre for Performing Arts. Drawing inspiration from his own experiences, Danny’s film follows Will who, after the loss of a family member, is plunged into a depression that alienates him from his work friends, his family, and his wife Sophie. Seeing no end to his misery, and what his depression is doing to others around him, Will contemplates ending his life. 

With their collaboration, Empath and Danny want to add their voice to the conversation around male mental health and encourage individuals, businesses, and organisations within the Wakefield District to rally behind this crucial cause. By supporting the production and distribution of “Half a Man,” local partners will play a vital role in amplifying the film’s impact and making a difference in the lives of those affected by male mental health challenges.

To that end, Empath Action CIC has also partnered with Man Matters, a men’s mental health project by Gasped!. 

“We at Man Matters are delighted to be a part of this innovative, one of a kind film and thank Empath
CIC for inviting us to be a part of this amazing project.

Our services include;

  • Coffee groups – where men can drop in for free hot drinks and biscuits, have a chat with staff and other service users, play games or do a quiz. The groups are aimed at eradicating loneliness and isolation, with the aim of bringing men together.
  • Practical and emotional support – this is on a 1 to 1 basis and can be in person or via telephone. These sessions can be anything that the client requires to alleviate issues in their current day.
  • Person Centred Counselling – We have both qualified and student counsellors to utilise through our project, depending on the trauma and issues the client is requiring support with.”

Get Involved

Empath Action CIC welcomes any support, whether financial or in-kind, from businesses, organisations, or individuals interested in supporting this short film and its wider campaign. 

Filming is planned for early September, with a screening later in the year. 

For further information or to support the “Half a Man” project, please contact the team at:

Skip to content