Merseyside CALMzone: A Case Study
CALM was initially commissioned in Merseyside in 2000, when CALM was a Dept of Health pilot, and was launched on 1st April 2000 at Cream’s nightclub Nation. A partnership of 6 commissioning areas to worked together to fund a local CALMzone Coordinator to promote CALM and the helpline and work with the local community to embed the campaign. At the time the suicide rate higher in Merseyside compared to both the UK nationally and within the North West. This commissioning arrangement continued when CALM became a national charity in 2006, and continued when CALM extended its remit to reach all men over the age of 15 in the UK.
Practically, local commissioners have employed a local CALMzone Coordinator continuously since 2000 to promote CALM across Merseyside within the CALM brand guidelines, working with with the local community – pubs and clubs, venues and universities, sports teams and clubs – to encourage them to join and promote the campaign.
Between 1999 and 2010 numbers of suicides on Merseyside among young men fell by a massive 55% over the 10 years, bringing it below the average for young men in the North West and the rest of England & Wales, according to published figures by the Office of National Statistics (ONS).
Commenting on the ONS figures for young men aged 15-34, Simon Howes, Development Coordinator of CALM on Merseyside said: “The figures released by the ONS are great news and prove that young male suicide isn’t inevitable and can be prevented. The simple truth is that on average, three young men take their own life everyday in the UK. CALM was established to help men get things off their chest by promoting a helpline and website that is credible and which they can trust when they are ready to sort their head out. We believe our work has helped to bring these numbers down and change the pressures and expectations that are often placed on our regions 190,000 young men for the better.”
The ONS figures showed an ongoing downward trend with a drop from a peak of 48 young male suicides in 2000 to 19 in 2009.
Dr. Sandra Davies, Associate Director of Public Health for Liverpool PCT said:
“These figures are fantastic news, and its also really encouraging that we are making so much progress locally. CALM is a trailblazing campaign which leads the way in how taboo issues such as suicide are addressed, working to point young men towards the help they need, when they feel they need it.”
Currently there is a consortia of Liverpool, Sefton, Knowsley, Halton, St Helens and Wirral signed up to the contract which is managed by Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust. CALM nationally sets down guidelines around brand usage and promotion, and provide the local commissioners with reports on numbers and trends of calls and web chats within Merseyside (note the service is anonymous). In return LCH provide funding to support the helpline and ensures CALM has an up-to-date local database of agencies which local callers can be referred to.
In 2010 the Three Borough Public Health Service (Hammersmith & Fulham, Westminster, Kensington & Chelsea) in London adopted a similar arrangement, and CALM has been commissioned locally in London since then.