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 have created a charity calendar to raise awareness.

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

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

Anthony, 37, 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 was full of life, even at the end, but unbeknown to close family he had other demons he was battling and would never talk openly about his feelings.

“It affected me in a way that I felt I failed him.

“This calendar is a testament to all those who are suffering and we want to give something back.”

Daryl Ambrose, 34, developed mental health problems when he became diabetic.

He said: “It’s a known factor 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.”

Other family matters left him feeling low.

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

“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.

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.”

To buy a calendar visit

The group will be delivering calendars or posting them as required.