Starting in 2020, Carling and CALM joined forces for a three-year partnership to help empower people to have those tricky conversations about everyday struggles on their own terms - as well as help us make improvements to our helpline.
We’ve always believed that going to where men naturally connect with friends, in places where they feel most comfortable - in pubs, on the pitch, online and on your phone - is key to tackling the unease around seeking help when times are tough.
Carling helped us reach more men connecting over pints right across the UK. And it meant, over the three-years of the partnership, we were able to extend our voice right across the country and potentially reach millions of people who may need us but are currently unaware of CALM and its services.
Carling is often a part of conversations between friends, teammates, workmates and families around the country. That conversation might begin with football or work, but lead to talking about how someone really is, how they’re really feeling. And that conversation, that person listening to their friend, might be just one of the things that means someone gets the help they need.
We had a shared ambition to do something really important and make a difference - at CALM we’re constantly challenging a culture that prevents men seeking help when they need it and Carling is committed to bringing people together to make positive differences. We know men happily talk over a pint but we know not enough of these chats are about how happy they are - or importantly, how unhappy they might be. Together we want to make it easier for mates to talk about the important stuff like mental wellbeing where they’re most comfortable connecting.
We wanted to help normalise what to some people might feel like tricky conversations about mental health and spread awareness of our life-saving support services.
But we didn’t want this partnership to just be about talking about mental health - it was also about delivering greater awareness of what we offer, reaching more people and making it easier to access our helplines. Our CEO Simon explained at the time:
“CALM has always been present in places that you might not expect us to be. That’s because mental wellbeing doesn’t exist in a vacuum. By being in those areas where mental health issues often go unrecognised or ignored, we open up the conversation to everyone, we move it forward, tackle taboos and, crucially, stop people from reaching crisis point.”
“Our long term three-year partnership with Carling allows us to do just that. By opening the door to millions more people, and in particular those who are in the most at-risk age groups, we can continue to play an important role in challenging the stigma surrounding mental health and suicide, and take another step forward in creating long-term cultural change.”
Phil Whitehead, Managing Director at Molson Coors Beverage Company, who own and brew Carling, said:
“We know that there may be some people who will raise their eyebrows at a brewer working with a mental health charity, and we don’t shy away from the fact that at its worst, alcohol can be part of the problem. Alcohol is never an answer to any mental health difficulties in any way, but people all over the world enjoy drinking responsibly and those normal cultural occasions can be a great opportunity for important conversations. For us this is exactly why this partnership is so important."
"We know that we have a unique ability to help CALM reach a much broader audience, encourage more men to really be there for their friends, and help to normalise conversations about how someone is really feeling in everyday settings. We believe we can help CALM to spread the message that it’s ok to talk about everyday struggles and to make more people aware of the support it can offer – and for us that is really what it comes down to, we can help and so we should.”
At a time when the pubs are closed, football is suspended and men may feel more isolated than ever, connecting with their mates online or via their phone has never been more important. That’s why this partnership will help us reach more people at a time when help has never been more needed.
Reaching audiences who need our services most
We’re present in places that you might not expect us to be. That’s because mental wellbeing doesn’t exist in a vacuum - it’s influenced by all of the other things we do in our daily lives. By being honest, approachable, practical and non-judgemental in spaces traditionally left out of mental health chat, we continue to break the stigma around mental wellbeing.
To understand about how and why we work with our partners head to our page You’ll find CALM wherever we’re needed