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2017 in 12 moments

In 2017, the issue of male suicide made it into government papers, tabloid front pages and onto the lips of the royal family. The amount of discourse around mental health reached previously unfathomable levels, and we seemed to see the beginnings of a major cultural shift in thinking around masculinity.

This year more than 65,000 conversations have taken place through our helpline and webchat, with 399 suicides directly prevented. Suicide remains the biggest killer of men under 45 and it’s people like you and the huge array of wondrous things you do that allow us to provide this vital, life-saving service.

Things like 64,650 miles cycled, 130,000 feet skydived, 18 companies choosing CALM as their Charity of the Year, 2,509 hours volunteered by 174 volunteers, and over 1,500 people running, gigging, comedy-ing, golfing, playing football matches and much more.

This relentless dedication means that awareness of suicide as the leading cause of death for men under 45 now sits at quadruple what it was in 2006. In the last year alone we’ve seen a 30% increase in national awareness, which now sits at 43%. We’re frankly in awe of your generosity and hard work and it’s a privilege to be part of this campaign with you.

As we wind down for the holidays and get excited for an even bigger 2018, we look back at the big moments from the year that was…

1. Comic Relief helped us celebrate 200,000 calls

In March 2017, we celebrated 1,000 suicides prevented and 200,000 calls to our helpline with the excellent ‘(T)hugs’ film, by Klaas Diersmann.

2. Two Princes talked to CALMzine

Off the back of the royals’ Heads Together campaign, we landed an exclusive interview  with The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry, in which William said “the male suicide rate is absolutely appalling”. These strong words were splashed across several newspaper front pages on 18 April, with CALM’s message going national on BBC News, Channel 5 and Sky News (before we were kicked off the perch by Theresa May’s snap election announcement!).

3. We spent a summer’s night with Danny Boyle

We were delighted to interview Danny Boyle live on stage in August at his beloved film and arts festival, Shuffle, discussing Trainspotting T2, middle-aged masculinity and the joys of creative self-expression.

4. We revealed L’Eau de Chris was ludicrous!

Another nationwide news bomb for CALM on World Mental Health Day 2017 as we teamed up with Topman, Rankin and new ambassador and star of Love Island, Chris Hughes, to reveal the true story behind ‘L’Eau de Chris’ – bottled water infused with his very own tears. The #DontBottleItUp message reached 12 million people in just 48 hours sending the message that it was indeed ludicrous for men to bottle up their feelings.

5. The CALM Photography Movement launched

Scott Shillum and Steve Wallington, both of whom have lost family and friends to suicide, founded the Calm Photography Movement with support from our partners Topman and Lynx. The project focused on mental health and masculinity by inviting professional and amateur photographers to shine a light on what it means to be a modern man. More than 20,000 photographs were entered, culminating in a beautiful exhibition and auction Getty Images Gallery in London.

6. Dan Keeley ran 1,250 miles from Rome to Home

On25 August 2017, Dan Keeley set off from the Colosseum and began his Rome To Home adventure. The 1,250 mile solo run was a platform for Dan to share his story of dealing with bipolar disorder and to raise funds for CALM. 65 days after leaving the Colosseum, he arrived at the London Eye and crossed the Rome To Home finishing line!

7. We published suicide notes written by men who survived

To mark World Suicide Prevention Day we published three real suicide notes in ten national newspapers. They were hard to read, shocking in fact. But more shocking are the facts behind these three individuals’ stories. CALM’s website went on to receive one month’s worth of traffic in 24 hours.

8. Elbow released a beautiful Torch Song

Torch Songs returned bigger and brighter in 2017. Saturday 22 April 2017 was Record Store Day so to celebrate our beloved independent record stores, and the power of music to lift us out of life’s low points, English rock legends Elbow released an exclusive 7” vinyl Torch Song – a cover of ‘August & September’ by The The.

9. We winged out over 100,000 beermats

To mark International Men’s Day 2017, we invited CALM supporters around the UK to #ManYourLocal by getting #ManDictionary beermats in pubs, clubs and cafes. 100,000 beermats winged their way onto tables and under pints across the nation, sparking conversations with piss-take puns and musings on the life of modern man.

10. #TeamCALM smashed the London Marathon

The crescendo of the Heads Together campaign – 42 #TeamCALM runners joined 40,000 others at the London Marathon on Sunday 23 April, raising more than £125,000 to prevent male suicide, CALM’s largest ever figure from a challenge event.

11. We sent off Secret Garden Party party with a bang

We upped our game considerably for the last ever Secret Garden Party with CALM’s very own Torch Songs stage. Brilliant gigs from Annabel Allum, Tom Grennan, Croox, Ned Dylan, The King’s Parade and Alice Jemima accompanied endless cuppas and biscuits in CALM’s legendary Tea and Secrets tent.

12. Tour De Test Valley reached £250,000 in fundraising

970 riders saddled up at the 2017 #TourdeTestValley in honour of pro-snowboarder and top gent, Nelson Pratt. In just five years riders have raised almost £250,000 for CALM. Ride On Nelly!

And a bonus 13. #ChangeThePicture launched on International Men’s Day

In partnership with 360i Europe, CALM launched #ChangeThePicture – a campaign aimed at challenging restrictive male stereotypes. We invited twelve men to reveal the unexpected truth behind photos they’d shared on social media. Together their stories defy the masculine stereotypes that the images convey and reveal unexpected vulnerability.

Want to take a closer look at the impact CALM is having? Read our Impact Report for 2016-17.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article or in the comments below, are not those held by CALM or its Trustees unless stated, and liability cannot be accepted for such comments. We encourage friendly and constructive debate, but please don't share personal contact details when commenting and exercise caution when considering any advice offered by others. We don’t allow abusive, offensive or inappropriate comments or comments that could be interpreted as libellous, defamatory or commercial and we will remove these without warning as and when we find them.

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