Our partnership with CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably)

We are really proud to partner with CALM

The Social Brighton team are raising money for CALM by running the Brighton Half Marathon and donating 10% of training course profits in January & February 2019. Here’s why.

What is CALM?

The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is an award-winning charity dedicated to preventing male suicide, the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the UK.

In 2015, 75% of all UK suicides were male.

We are supporting CALM because they not only offer support to men who are depressed or in crisis, but they are challenging a culture that prevents men from looking for the help that they need.

CALM believe that there is a cultural barrier preventing men from seeking help as they are expected to be in control at all times, and failure to be seen as such equates to weakness and a loss of masculinity. They believe that if men felt able to ask for and find help when they need it then hundreds of male suicides could be prevented.

CALM’s work:

  • Offering support to men in the UK, of any age, who are down or in crisis
  • Challenging a culture that prevents men seeking help when they need it, through campaigns such as #ManDictionary and #BiggerIssues
  • Pushing for changes in policy and practice so that suicide is better prevented
  • Supporting those bereaved by suicide

My story

I recently delivered a short talk at Platform9 about why we have partnered with CALM and, because the reasons are very close to my heart, I couldn’t keep the tears at bay toward the end and struggled to get my words out.

I do a lot of public speaking but it’s always about social media marketing – not an emotional topic! I decided to write this blog post so I can get out what I wanted to say and also to help raise awareness about CALM to others.

My husband was diagnosed with depressions and anxiety in 2018 and had a rollercoaster of a year; several weeks off work, struggling through each day, therapy, a lot of new coping mechanisms, anti-depressants and a change of job.

As the partner of someone going through this, it’s so incredibly sad and you feel utterly helpless.

I have learned a great deal from people, websites, from listening to him and from several brilliant Matt Haig books.

Through some particularly dark times, all I could really do was be there for him to talk to, keep things going at home, keep family life as normal as possible while he got through this awful time. That wasn’t easy but was nothing compared to what he was going through.

The things that really helped him through the bad times were talking, exercise, mindfulness and new hobbies.

He started taking long walks along the beach collecting driftwood and has started creating these amazing clocks from the wood. Getting through depression and anxiety is not a quick process and takes time and it does make me smile that clocks are one of the outcomes of that particular time (and definitely a marketing angle when he’s ready to get on Instagram and sell some of them one day)

Supporting men to talk

Because men are far less likely to speak publicly about mental health issues, it often isn’t discussed with friends or family because it’s (wrongly) considered less masculine to show vulnerabilities, to talk about feelings, to cry.

CALM believe that there is a cultural barrier preventing men from seeking help:

  • They are expected to be in control at all times
  • Failure equates to weakness and a loss of masculinity
  • Talking about feelings is a female thing

Last year, I saw several men that I know share their struggles with depression, anxiety or suicidal feelings publicly on social media. For anyone to face their lowest point, come through it and share their story to inspire others is amazing.

When I was running one morning I realised I could do something to help. My fantastic team were totally on board with the idea and we all signed up for the Brighton 2019 Half Marathon to raise money for CALM so more men can be supported.

Social Brighton run the Brighton Half Marathon

The training is hard work but I know it’s even harder for someone with depression to do, well, anything sometimes. So while I’m healthy and able, I will run and raise awareness.

We are also donating 10% of the profits from our social media training courses throughout January and February 2019 to CALM.

If, through these actions, we can make even a tiny difference to this charity that is supporting men when they are at their lowest, maybe we can make a big difference to someone’s life and that of their family.

That thought will keep the four of us going for the whole 21km on February 24th.

How you can help

If you’d like to sponsor us for the half marathon, you can donate on our JustGiving page.

If you’d like to learn about social media marketing whilst also supporting CALM, you can book a ticket to one of our courses.

We can all help by looking out for the men in our lives, encouraging men to talk and by being part of a cultural shift where there is no shame in men seeking help for depression.

Thanks for reading this, it really means a lot. It was important to me to share this and raise awareness and it was a lot easier to write the words than say them.

Kerry x

Read more about CALM at thecalmzone.net

Donate to CALM

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