26 March 2018

CALM - male suicide prevention - mental health in business

The 84 statues. (Image from @theCALMzone)

Every week 84 men in the UK take their own lives.

I was shocked to discover this stat earlier today. The hashtag has been popping up all over social media. In the UK alone, 84 men. It’s incomprehensible.

Suicide is the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45.

The CALM campaign

To highlight the issue, CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably), a charity dedicated to preventing male suicide, set up the #Project84 campaign.

The charity campaign erected 84 statues on the rooftop of ITV buildings in London.It’s eerie to see these figures on the rooftops, looking out over the edge, but it’s the reality that many people face.

I have spoken candidly about mental health on a few occasions – it is something that we all face hurdles with in our lives and no one should be too embarrassed to talk about it. It is cliché but a problem shared is a problem halved.


If you’re struggling, speak to someone. Reach out. All too often we Brits maintain that ‘stiff upper lip’ and pretend it’s all ok. Or we think that sharing our issue would be burdening someone else – that’s simply not the case. In my experience, this is particularly prevalent in the male population. I’ve seen men struggling immensely but unable to talk about it for fear of letting down the image of what a ‘strong man’ should be. It’s heartbreaking and far too frequent in the business and sport arenas.

It was refreshing and encouraging to watch a TEDx talk from fellow entrepreneur and friend Vikas Shah MBE, Swiscot Group CEO and lecturer at University of Manchester Business School. Vikas took to the stage to share his experience of mental health and his struggles with anxiety. He talks of the reality of life – we’re all observers and no one know what’s really going on behind the scenes.

The more that we talk about mental health and the struggles we face, the less scary they become. Then, the more we talk, the smaller the stigma around mental health. The more it becomes the norm to talk about how we’re feeling, instead of bottling it up.

If you need a little extra help, or if you’re worried about someone, CALM has put together a resource pack to help you find the support you need.

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