If there’s one person to recognise for the success of CALM, it‘s founder and former CEO, Jane Powell. Jane’s tenacity, passion and unflinching drive built a movement that has changed and saved the lives of many men.
In the late 1990s a spike in young male suicides led the Department of Health to take action. Jane was asked to launch a pilot campaign that young men would connect with. She worked with music promoters, football teams and local entrepreneurs to create something innovative, grass-roots and relevant: Campaign Against Living Miserably.
Launching in Manchester in 1997 with record label owner Tony Wilson, she extended the pilot to Merseyside and Cumbria in 2000 with a launch at the Cream Nightclub, before leaving to live briefly in the US. Ongoing Dept of Health reorganisation left CALM unprotected and in 2005, the Dept of Health decided to close the pilot down.
She returned and launched CALM as an independent national charity in 2006 aimed at young men. In the following years CALM grew rapidly, and in 2011 CALM launched in London with the support of Topman. Webchat followed. By July 2012, the 365 days per year service was extended to all men in the UK, regardless of age.
Jane developed partnerships with brands like Lynx, delivering multi-award-winning campaigns such as Bigger Issues, and prompting the first ever parliamentary debate on male suicide, on International Men’s Day 2015.
By 2017 CALM was receiving over 6,000 calls and webchats per month. Awareness of suicide as the biggest killer of men under 45 had quadrupled since CALM was founded, and a movement of thousands was spearheading a cultural change in masculinity. CALM became a founding partner of Heads Together with the Royal Foundation and The Duke of Cambridge.