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CALM’s Founder Jane Powell

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 Manchester in 1997, 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: the Campaign Against Living Miserably.

This pilot was closed in 2006, but Jane decided to relaunch CALM as an independent charity. Under her leadership CALM developed from a modest start to a fully-fledged ‘CALMzone’ in Manchester, later extending to Merseyside, with a launch at Cream nightclub, and then Cumbria.

In the following years CALM grew rapidly, providing a national helpline for men in crisis. CALM launched in London 2011 with the support of Topman and, in July 2012, opened to all men in the UK.

Jane’s leadership made CALM one of the fastest growing and most recognisable charities around. Soon the helpline was open 365 days-a-year, and CALM launched a webchat service.

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 – the crowning moment in a decade of remarkable growth with Jane at the helm.

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