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If you were asked what the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the UK was, what would you answer? Obesity? Cancer? Heart disease?
It’s suicide. In 2015, 75% of all UK suicides were male. Every week in the UK, 84 men take their own lives and 3 in every 4 suicides are male. These are deeply shocking and distressing statistics that we simply cannot ignore.
CALM – The Campaign Against Living Miserably – has no intention of overlooking the issue. The award-winning charity is dedicated to preventing male suicide and offers support to men in the UK, of any age, who are down or find themselves in a crisis. As well as a helpline and webchat service, they provide information on several topics including abuse, depression, eating disorders and racism.
For some men, it can be difficult to open up about dealing with pressure and so when they are feeling low, they tend to speak out less than women do and keep their emotions locked up. Indeed, CALM believes there is a cultural barrier which prevents men from seeking help as they are expected to be in control at all times.
The charity wants to challenge the culture around mental health, gender and masculinity and to dispel the myth that a failure to be in control equates to weakness and a loss of masculinity. CALM believes that if men felt able to ask for and find help when they need it then hundreds of male suicides could be prevented.
With the support of high-profile ambassadors and collaborators including rapper and singer/songwriter Professor Green who lost his own father to suicide, The Duke of Cambridge as part of CALM’S ongoing support of Heads Together and musician Loyle Carner (who featured in a moving video for CALM’S #BestManProject), their eminent campaigns raise awareness of male suicide and provoke debate.
Their recent campaign, #Project84, tells the stories behind the horrifying statistics and reminds us that when a man feels so desperate that they take their own life, the impact is far-reaching. Working with internationally renowned artist Mark Jenkins, CALM created 84 individual sculptures to act a a poignant reminder of a real life lost and to make a call to society to take a stand against male suicide – you can read the stories here. The project also calls on the government to take action against suicide; there is currently no minister officially responsible for prevention and bereavement support and they want to change that. You can sign the petition here.
The charity provides a huge range of valuable services, including:
An accredited, confidential, anonymous and free helpline and webchat service, open from 5pm-midnight every day. Nationwide: 0800 58 58 58 or London: 0808 802 58 58
A directory of UK-wide organisations that can help with a number of topics.
Support to those bereaved by suicide, through the Support After Suicide Partnership (SASP), hosted by CALM, which aims to ensure that everyone bereaved or affected by suicide is offered and receives timely and appropriate support.
CALM believes in #StrongNotSilent and wants to help any man who is down or who has hit a wall get their life back. It is completely unacceptable that so many men are dying from suicide on a daily basis, yet so few people are talking about it.
Let’s start talking.