‘Boys Do Cry’ in new mental health campaign via The Hallway

Content warning: This article and the videos in this article discuss mental health issues. If you or someone you care about needs support, please contact Lifeline 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636. In an emergency, call 000.

Independent creative agency, The Hallway has launched a new campaign to raise awareness for men’s mental health, reworking ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ by The Cure into ‘Boys Do Cry’.

The campaign was created in partnership with the University of Melbourne’s Centre for Mental Health and mental fitness foundation Gotcha4Life and Heiress Films, as well as support from industry charity, UnLtd and IPG Mediabrands agency, Initiative.

Three years in the making, the campaign is the “brainchild” of partner and executive creative director at the Hallway, Simon Lee, taking learnings from his own experiences with mental health struggles and anxiety.

The intention of the campaign is to bring to light the struggles men face in defying “masculine stereotypes”, successfully reaching out to those around them to “reinforce the message that connecting and opening up is not just healthy – it can be the difference between living and dying”.

The campaign also comes with the message: “When the going gets tough, get talking”, as Lee seeks to champion the benefits of reaching out for help.

“Going and telling my GP that I was suffering from anxiety was more nerve-racking than any pitch presentation I have ever had to make. But admitting my vulnerability and reaching out for help is one of the best things I have ever done. My hope is that this campaign will help give other people the strength to do the same.”

“This has been three years in the making and I want to thank everyone who has willingly given their counsel, time, resources and funding to make it a reality.”

The campaign includes a choir of 30 men from diverse backgrounds, singing the reimagined version of The Cure’s single, included in the cast is MC, Dallas Woods a Noongar man from the East Kimberley, and actor Eddie Baroo.

The University of Melbourne’s Centre for Mental Health led by Professor Jane Pirkis and Dr Angela Nicholas ran a research program on the video with a control group of men to see if it influences the chances of them reaching out for help.

Perkis said: “We know that 75% of all suicides are by males, and that one of the things that may be influencing this is the pressure society places on boys and men to be self-reliant and solve problems by themselves. Our work is challenging some of these traditional masculine norms and looking at whether this may help to bring down the male suicide rate.”

The campaign is also asking Australian community groups, including Rotary, CWA, Men’s Sheds and Lions Club, to make and hang their own banner, of “When the going gets tough, get talking” in community halls, sports centres, council chambers or local meeting places, to raise awareness of the issue.

The campaign research said that on average, seven men take their own lives each day in Australia, with suicide killing three times more men than road accidents, and it being the leading cause of death for Australians aged 15-49.

Lyrics, written by Simon Lee

Almost one in five men will experience mental health issues each year, yet societal norms prove it to be difficult for many to speak up and ask for help.

Chief operating officer at UnLtd, Rachel Troy said: “We are really delighted at how this project has come together. It’s a really good example of what we do best at UnLtd, which is to bring our industry partners together to rally around a common cause. This issue affects us all and it’s one that requires attention and focus like this so that we are working towards a more mentally healthy supportive society.”

CEO of Initiative, Melissa Fein also said: “I’m so proud of the Initiative team for leaning in to work hand-in-hand with our valued media partners to back this campaign. The stats clearly show why this cause is so important and the incredible support we’ve already garnered from the industry to build awareness for this campaign is invaluable.”

OOH poster

‘Boys Do Cry’ is released today as a music video and single, with out of home, videos, radio spots and a campaign website developed by The Hallway.


Creative Agency: The Hallway

Executive Creative Director: Simon Lee

Creative Director: Aldo Ferretto

Copywriters: Simon Lee, Tim Wood

Art Director: Aldo Ferretto

Producer: Carolyn Starkey

CEO: Jules Hall

Account Director: Chris Murphy

Head of Strategy: Tim Mottau

Comms Strategist: Mat Rawnsley

Special thanks to Hannah Sturrock

Media agency: Initiative

Sound Production: Uncanny Valley

Music Supervision: Charlton Hill

Music Producer: Justin Shave

Audio Post: Matt Perrott

Film Production: Good Oil

Director: Tom Campbell

Producer: Catherine Warner

Executive Producer: Sam Long

Musical Director/Arranger: Cameron Bruce

Director of Photography: Sam Chiplin

Editor: Phoebe Taylor @ Arc Edit

Colourist: Olivier Fontenay

Online: Arc Edit

Gotcha 4 Life

Founder/Director: Gus Worland

Head of Program Delivery: Vicky Worland

General Manager: Simon Hamilton

Head of Marketing & Communications: Savannah Fielder

Heiress Films

Executive Producer: Jennifer Cummins

Impact Producer: Jackie Turnure

Publicist: Hannah Watkins

Website Designer/Developer: Elle Williams

Impact Coordinator: Harrison Lochtenberg

Social Media Coordinator: Abbey Cummins

Casting: Kirsty de Vallance, A Cast of Thousands

Production Accountant: Bronwyn Speziale

Legals: Stephen Boyle


CEO: Chris Freel

Chief Operating Officer: Rachel Troy

Head of Industry Partnerships: Saarika Shah


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