A student who got depressed when he started to lose his hair while he was still at school has created a poster to help other young men.
Kieran Thompson, 20, has signed up as a Fixer to inspire them to be confident whatever they look like.
He says he has learnt to live with his receding hairline and is now determined to help break down body image stereotypes.
‘I want young men to realise that it doesn’t matter what you look like – whether you’re slightly larger, don’t have muscles or you’re losing your hair – those things don’t define you,’ says Kieran.
‘It’s your personality and self-confidence that matter and make you a man.’
His Fixers poster calls on young men to be ‘healthy, happy and confident’ whatever their shape and size.
To view Kieran's poster, click below:
Kieran, from Doagh in County Antrim, was 16 when his friends first jokingly pointed out that he was receding following a haircut.
‘From that moment onwards I kept thinking about it all the time and got increasingly down about it,’ he explains.
‘I thought it meant that I was going to go bald very quickly, but in hindsight it wasn’t really that bad.
‘It sounds shallow but if there were girls around especially I would feel self-conscious playing sport or when the wind blew.’
To make things worse, Kieran says he kept his feelings bottled up for a long time.
‘Hair loss is a taboo subject and so much stigma surrounds it so I didn’t talk to anyone about it,’ he says.
It was only when Kieran finally plucked up the courage to speak to a friend that he says he got some much-needed perspective.
‘Talking about it helped a lot,’ he says. 'My friend told me, “You may be losing your hair but there’s somebody out there without a leg and someone else who doesn’t have food”.
'He made me realise that there is always someone who is worse off than you and that I should be grateful for what I had.’
Kieran is now determined to help other young men who might be struggling with their own body image.
‘There is an incredible amount of pressure on young people to look good,’ he says. ‘Social media is constantly bombarding us about going to the gym, must-have products and selfies.
'It’s become ingrained into our generation. When people don’t talk about things – like I did – it’s dangerous because they can really blow out of proportion.’
Kieran, who is studying a foundation degree in sports science at Loughborough College, hopes to display his poster in a range of places including universities, nightclubs and gyms.
To find other resources on this topic, and watch Fixers films, click on the image below: