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History of CALM

The Campaign Against Living Miserably is targeted at all men in the UK.  The campaign offers men help, information and advice via a phone and web service, although anyone, regardless of age, gender or geographic location can call the line. 

CALM's first trustee, the legendary Tony Wilson

CALM’s first trustee, the legendary Tony Wilson

The campaign was launched as a pilot by the Dept of Health in Manchester on Dec 15th 1997, and rolled out to Merseyside and Cumbria in 2000, and later Luton & Bedfordshire.  In 2004 the Dept of Health announced that the pilot was to end and invited Jane Powell in to close the pilot (as she had launched it).  Finding that local commissioners and supporters wanted it to continue, she launched CALM as a national charity on March 31st 2006, with ads on MTV and posters and billboards provided by JCDecaux, Clear Channel and Viacom across England in April and May 2006.

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Working with the music, sport and club scenes, CALM seeks to offer men help through its helpline and website with a brand, and service, tailored to them.  There are many reasons why men need a campaign like CALM.   The world has changed significantly for women over the past 40 years, but for men much has stayed the same.  ‘The Strong and Silent Type’ is still an ideal held up by much of the media, and there remains the widespread view that men aren’t supposed to talk about their personal problems because, by definition, men are supposed to be strong and in control.  There is no biological reason presented to date why UK men – of any age – are three times more likely than women to take their lives.

CALM launched it’s London CALMzone in November 2011, with a world class line up of DJs who ‘battled’ each other on the shop floor of the Topman flagship store in Oxford Circus.

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Zane Lowe DJing at the London CALMzone launch event in Topman

Until 2011 CALM was aimed at men aged 15-35.  By 2011 it was clear that the volume of male callers aged over 35 was becoming greater than those aged under 35; and at the same time it was clear from the statistics that suicide in older, middle aged men, was on the rise.  We consulted extensively with supporters, funders and commissioners about whether to expand our remit to cover all men in the UK, and the response was an overwhelming yes.

We can see that men of all ages use CALM, use our website, and webchat, we decided to keep our brand as is.  It is a young brand, but then so is Nike, that doesn’t and shouldn’t stop older men wearing Nike trainers; and our own pretty detailed statistics show us that its the strength of our brand which brings us our audience, men of all ages.

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