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Adapting to a new normal: An update from CALM

Simon Gunning

We’ve been in lockdown for almost 2 months, and in that time we’ve all had to adapt to a new way of living and working. Simon Gunning, CEO of the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), shares an update on CALM’s approach. 

“I last spoke to you in March, and since then we’ve all been through a lot. Our services have seen record breaking demand and our incredible helpline staff have answered 19,249 calls and webchats, and directly prevented 80 suicides since lockdown was announced.

It’s become clear in the past two months that alongside the physical health crisis we’re facing, we urgently need to think about the mental health implications too. While we all adapt to a new normal and then the newer new normal, we’ll be there to help anyone who needs our support. We know that as lockdown and the effects of coronavirus continue, the challenges will shift and evolve – and we’ll shift and evolve with them to ensure we can continue to provide the support needed during this challenging and unpredictable time. 

Our life-saving services are clearly needed more than ever. And with each new government announcement directly impacting the amount of calls and webchats we receive per night, we know that the lockdown is having a huge impact on everyone’s lives. In fact, CALM’s recent nationwide survey showed that 43% of people felt that the current Coronavirus pandemic and the UK lockdown has had a significant negative impact on how they feel every day. 

The nature of the calls we’ve received has changed just as much as our circumstances have. We’ve spoken to frontline workers dealing with traumatic situations everyday, while also contending with their own worries and anxieties. We’ve spoken to people who are feeling confused, nervous, angry, frustrated and helpless, as well as people facing difficult life situations. We’ve spoken to those in strained relationships and with nowhere to go, to people who have suffered domestic abuse, and to people whose anxiety continues to rise because of the uncertainty or loneliness they are facing. We have talked people through job-loss, grief and health concerns, providing practical support to anyone who needs it. 

Which is why it’s important to emphasise, just like we did when this all began, that CALM is here for you and for whoever needs us. We believe that everybody should have access to the support they need, when they need it. So no matter what your worry, concern or crisis, whether you’re uncertain about your circumstances or confused over what steps you need to take, our professional helpline staff are there to talk to you from 5pm to midnight every single day. 

As the government announces changes to lockdown restrictions and guidelines, and as more people face the prospect of returning to work under current circumstances, these issues won’t disappear, and new ones will arise. No matter what, we’ll be there, because that’s what we do. We stand together with everyone struggling with life, no matter who they are, where they’re from or what they’re going through. No issue or topic is off limits, never too big or too small – CALM is here to help. 

We’ve been astounded by the response we’ve had from our audiences and supporters who have rallied together and continued to support us through this challenging time. We’ve seen a whole host of innovative new fundraising ideas, from back-yard marathons to online gaming live streams and quizzes that are keeping communities connected.  We’ve introduced new ambassadors and enjoyed comedy clubs and live sets from a whole host of supporters. In short, we’ve come together and achieved things we would never have imagined two months ago, so for that we’re incredibly thankful.

While it’s clear that our services are in more demand than ever before,  it’s also the case that more people than ever are talking about mental wellbeing, and making it an everyday priority across workplaces, homes and society – something I hope will continue long after this challenging period is over. No matter what happens in the coming weeks, months and years, our helpline and services will continue to be here whatever the future brings, so if you need to talk, we’ll be there to help. “

We’re taking our own advice…

And asking for help when we need it. Right now, our helpline staff are supporting more people than ever – taking more calls and answering more webchats. In short, we’re busier than ever before. 

So for the first time ever we’re asking for direct donations. £8 is enough to fund one potentially life-saving call. Pennies or pounds, the price of a tea, or the cash you may have saved on commuting, whatever you can spare, help us to support as many people as possible through this challenging time and fund our life-saving work.

You can donate to CALM and its life-saving services here 

 *Data as reported by CALM for week commencing March 23rd  2020 to Week ending May 10th 2020
CALM Survey : Populus conducted an online sample of 2,096 UK adults 18+ between 7th and 10th May 2020.  Data is weighted to be representative of the population of Great Britain.  

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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