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CALM Vs 2020: A year like no other

It’s safe to say that 2020 has been a year like no other, but here at CALM, we’ve still managed to pack a lot in.  We couldn’t have done it without our ambassadors and supporters, who’ve walked, talked, entertained and trained their way through this tough year, raising money and awareness for our life-saving services. All those thank yous would take hours, so here are some of the year’s highlights.

Homeless Not Hopeless

homeless helpline

Last year, we partnered with Harry’s, a men’s care brand, to launch a service dedicated to addressing the unique situation that those affected by homelessness face every day. Here at CALM, we believe everyone should be able to ask for the help they need, that’s why this year, we created tailored materials to let homeless people know our services are there for them. With the help of our volunteers, we reached 62,756 people in just 6 months through the project. 

CALM V Covid

This year, we had to find new ways to be there for one another, adjusting to a new normal to keep each other safe. We (virtually) rallied together and the support we received was astonishing. From March to October our helpline staff answered 84,954 calls and webchats and prevented 292 suicides – having a conversation every 66 seconds, something we couldn’t have done without you. Team CALM found new ways to raise money for our lifesaving services, through online gigs, gaming streams, socially distanced runs and more, helping us to be there no matter what. 

Comedy Against Living Miserably

With the help of our mates at Dave, we delivered the first ever Comedy Against Living Miserably, delivering some much needed humour during this weird year. Opening up about mental wellbeing, the show held an important message, challenging stigmas surrounding emotional health and giving people a space to speak up. Comedians including Joel Dommet, Judi Love, John Robins and Kiri Pritchard-McLea delivered a whole hour of gags to take our mind off things. 

As Britain locked down, we hosted a Lock In 

With the help of a star studded cast, we held a big night in. The CALM Lock In brought music, comedy and quizzes to lounges across the country, with a whole host of talent from Frank Turner to Ed Gamble. Why? We wanted to remind you that if you’re struggling, we’re always here. The CALM Lock In was a real hit, bringing people together online for a laugh, a pint, and even a DJ set.

New ambassadors joined Team CALM 

Calm ambassadors

It’s been another great year of welcoming aboard a bunch of CALM ambassadors. Comedians Suzi Ruffell, Russell Kane, Seann Walsh, Rosie Jones, singers Zak Abel and Arlo Parks, cyclist Juliet Elliott, TV personality Kem Cetinay and international rugby player Joe Marler have all joined Team CALM this year. 

HomeRun 

With running events cancelled across the country due to Covid, we took on the HomeRun, a virtual 10K with a difference. Team CALM assembled on Zoom to run round their homes and gardens, raising money for our life-saving services. TV personality Josh Patterson even got involved, running for 24hours around his 14ft patio to raise money and awareness for CALM.

Lost Hours Walk 

Lost Hours Walk BannerThis year we had to do the Lost Hours Walk a little differently, but social distancing didn’t stop people from uniting against suicide. Walkers took to the streets, taking on 3, 13, or 26 miles to raise money for CALM. You completely smashed the goal of £100,000, raising almost £300,000 for our life-saving services. 

Task Me Anything 

It all got a bit Willy Wonka here at CALM with the invention of the Task Me Anything Challenge Generator machine. Loads of you fed your answers to our trusty machine and promised to take on a totally random task to raise some cash for CALM. A tool for the indecisive out there, you put your fundraising fates in our hands – with one brave gent even getting a permanent Team CALM tattoo!

Finding the words with Joe Marler 

International rugby player and CALM ambassador, Joe Marler, teamed up with us to make a short film with an important message. Joe’s innovative film highlighted how things can easily get lost between the lines when it comes to talking about our feelings. With Joe’s help, we wanted to smash the stigma surrounding men’s mental wellbeing. You can watch the film here. 

We got our own CALM Porsche and FIFA football kit

Gaming has kept us connected throughout 2020, it’s been a way to switch off from the current situation and enjoy some time with our mates online. What’s more, many of you chose to use it as a way to raise awareness and money for CALM’s services, coming up with creative ways to game for good. 

There were also some big highlights for our gaming community this year, with FIFA adding bespoke CALM kits to the game and Dirt 5 including a CALM-branded Porsche, a reminder that – even if you take a wrong turn – there’s always someone ready to listen.

It’s cool to be KIND

This year we teamed up with KIND Snacks to highlight the positive effects of kindness on your mental health. Proven to boost confidence, happiness and optimism, we worked together on some tips to help you pay kindness forward in 2021 and beyond. Not only that, but KIND will be making a 5p donation for each pack bought in WH Smith and Tesco in 2021, who will be matching KIND’s donations. 

Joining forces with Carling

In May we joined forces with Carling to help empower people to have tricky conversations about everyday struggles. As the UK’s number one lager, a cold Carling is often a part of conversations between friends and family, so we teamed up to launch Carling’s Caring campaign, aimed at helping people to open up and be there for their mates. 

We couldn’t have done it without your support

Each donation helps us to continue to be there for anyone who is struggling. Our supporters have pulled it out of the bag once again this year, with companies like LNER, KIND, J Murphy, Carling, SEAT Vans, Harrys, ITV, Topman/Topshop, and Radio X, digging deep to back our life-saving services. 

As the year comes to a close, we’re looking ahead to 2021. While we don’t have a crystal ball, one thing is for certain – CALM will remain here for you no matter what. 

Looking for a way to support CALM in the new year, head here. 

If you, or someone you know is finding anxiety challenging or you’re struggling to open up about something, we have a page full of advice that can help.

And if you need to talk we’re here to lend a listening ear, no matter what. Our free, confidential helpline and webchat service is run by a trained team and is open every day from 5pm until midnight.

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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