Suicide is the single biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK. An innovative digital outdoor campaign aims to stop us walking by.
CALM, which stands for Campaign Against Living Miserably, has launched a bold new campaign activated via outdoor digital displays and billboards across London, Manchester and Birmingham – the kind we all walk past each day.
The boards are connected live to CALM’s free and anonymous helpline, alerting passers-by with a loud ringtone to capture their attention every time a call is answered. The screens will switch to a ‘call in progress’ phone screen, demonstrating in real time how many calls are being answered.
The aims are to encourage men at a low point to call the helpline; make all of us more aware of mental health; destigmatise suicide; and emphasise the immediacy with which people can be helped when they’re experiencing a difficult time.
“They saved my life,” says caller Paul. “The team directed me to counselling, ensuring I was seeing a doctor consistently for 12 months, and introduced me to running. Running is my therapy – I’ve since completed five runs to raise money for CALM.”
Over 200 calls and webchats are answered by CALM every single day and the organisation helped to prevent 675 suicides in 2018, a 58% increase year on year from 2017. “I was terrified,” relates Ben, another caller. “Terrified of the shame I felt in asking for help, terrified of being laughed at for being weak, terrified of being rejected – none of which happened, and instead I found someone who listened and that was all I needed at that moment: to be heard, that simple kindness was what brought me back down to earth.”
The new OOH rollout follows another hard-hitting campaign, 2018’s Project 84, when CALM collaborated with artist Mark Jenkins to create figures of men who had taken their own lives, and placed them at the top of a London TV tower.
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