TWELVE brave men have taken to the spotlight to pose for a unique calendar and raise awareness of mental health.

In England, one in eight men have a common mental health problem, but are reluctant to seek support.

Wanting to change the way men feel about seeking help for mental health, a group of dads has created a charity calendar to raise awareness.

Daryl Ambrose, of Clacton, and Anthony Jefferson, of Braintree, came up with the idea for a “dad bod” calendar.

The “dad bod” is becoming a more popular kind of body shape, with reports suggesting a bit of cushioning is more attractive to women than chiselled abs.

Daryl, 34, who works in railway track maintenance, developed mental health problems when he became diabetic. He said there are other factors in his life which have lead to him feeling very low.

He said: “It’s a known fact diabetes can cause depression and anxiety.

“I would be fine one minute and the next I would hit rock bottom. I got myself into a lot of debt which didn’t help and I struggle every day paying back what I owe.”

He has four children - Holly, six, Angel-Star, four, and twins Mila and Leo who are both one.

He said he is not able to see the twins all the time and it has had an impact on his mental health.

He said: “I would sit in the dark at night with no TV on and no-one I felt I could talk to.

“Then when I did have a happy moment I wanted to go out and pick myself up a bit, but realised I didn’t know anyone in Clacton.

“So I joined the North Essex Singles page and started making new friends. I’m the kind of person who is there for anyone but I can’t seem to deal with my own problems and helping others takes my mind off my problems.”

He came up with the idea to create the dad bod calendar in August.

It proved a popular idea with other men on social media.

He said: “I decided I wanted to do something to help everyone dealing with their own issues.

“I saw a muscular men calendar and thought, hang on - how about a dad bod calendar?

“So I put a post up online asking if anyone would be interested in doing a calender to raise money and I had a lot of positive interest.”

Anthony, 37, said he wanted other men to feel they could speak out about their mental health, but needed a fun way to get the message out.

He said: “Daryl and I came up with the idea of creating a calendar that was tongue-in-cheek, but had a touching story behind it.

“Mental health is something close to my heart and all the men taking part have stories about how they have battled depression, but are on the more positive side of life now.

“We are supporting the Mental Health Foundation and are selling the calendars for £10 to support valuable research.”

Anthony, who has three children, lost his baby boy two years ago and it has affected him deeply.

He also had a family friend who took his own life in August, aged just 21.

Anthony said he wanted to help charities offering mental health support. He said: “This calendar is a testament to all those who are suffering and we want to give something back.”

To buy a calendar, visit

The group will be delivering calendars or posting them as required. All money raised will go to the Mental Health Foundation.