CALM highlights vital work of helpline in groundbreaking ‘Call For Help’ campaign, created with adam&eveDDB and Ocean Outdoor

The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) – which is leading a movement against suicide, the single biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK – launched a hard-hitting visual advertising campaign in partnership with adam&eveDDB and Ocean Outdoor.

The ‘Call For Help’ campaign demonstrates the number of calls answered by CALM daily and aims to remove the stigma of reaching out and calling for help, while encouraging people to visit the charity’s website and learn about how they can ensure no call goes unanswered.

Activated via a series of OOH digital displays and billboards across London, Manchester and Birmingham, connected live to CALM’s free and anonymous helpline, the campaign mirrors the incoming calls in real time, showcasing how many people are opening up and receiving support from CALM every day. By showing the number of calls being answered in real time throughout the duration of the campaign’s OOH execution, CALM’s aim is to not only engage with a wide audience, but to highlight CALM’s services and empower those in crisis to pick up the phone.

From 5pm on 16 April, a static ad linked to CALM’s helpline will be interrupted every time a call is answered, alerting passers-by with a loud ringtone to capture their attention. The screens will switch to a ‘call in progress’ phone screen, demonstrating in real time how many calls are being answered. It will also emphasise the immediacy with which people can be helped when they’re experiencing a difficult time.

Paul, one person who was helped by CALM’s helpline, said: “I made that phone call to CALM and I thank them with all my heart because they saved my life. 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.

Ben, who called CALM’s helpline at his lowest point, said: “I found myself sitting in a ditch weeping and weeping, thinking I was going to take my life that day. Some voice in my head though said: before you go, try calling CALM. And so I did. I searched for the number and stared at it. I was terrified. 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 sensible, sensitive advice that followed helped me through the following days: making my life bearable again, giving me hope, allowing me to take pride in asking for help, in wanting to be heard, in wanting to help other people like me by just being there to listen.”

With the ambition to help save more lives and ultimately remove the stigma around suicide, the campaign is designed as a show of solidarity in terms of people coming together to talk about difficulties they’re facing.

Over 200 calls and webchats are answered by CALM every single day and, as awareness continues to grow, CALM are supporting more people than ever before through difficult moments in their lives. In 2018, demand for the CALM helpline grew by 53% year on year, with CALM helping to prevent 675 suicides in 2018, a 58% increase year on year from 2017.

Whilst these statistics are encouraging, and growing demand for CALM’s services show that more people are starting to be open in the way they seek support, there is still much to be done to create an open culture in which help-seeking behaviour is championed and, ultimately, normalised.

Simon Gunning, CALM CEO, said: “Suicide is an issue that affects everyone, and so we work with the whole of society through campaigns such as ‘Call For Help’ that aim to raise awareness of the support that is available for anyone going through a tough time, while showing the positive impact that a call to the CALM helpline can have on an individual’s life. In 2018 we directly prevented 675 suicides, and we aim to further open up the conversation around mental health and suicide, empowering more people to best support their own wellbeing and that of those around them.”

Mike Sutherland, Executive Creative Director at adam&eveDDB, said: “No one knows when they’ll need the support of CALM, for themselves or for someone they love, so we wanted to create a campaign that would hit home with people by showing just how much the helpline is needed and why it is vital for saving lives. Not only do we wholeheartedly believe in what CALM is doing, it’s exciting to have a client who is so open to taking risks with ideas that have a real impact out in a world crowded with marketing messages.”

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