Today the Duke of Cambridge will join the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) at the launch of a unique coalition of front-line services to help tackle the issue of male suicide, the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the UK.
Convened by CALM, the coalition includes The Samaritans and front-line services from land, sea, and air: National Rail, Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), Highways England, British Transport Police and the National Police Chiefs’ Council, Chief Fire Officers Association and the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives.
The aim is to pool all members’ substantial expertise in dealing with suicide at first-hand to develop a resource which helps men identify and support others, and themselves, when down, depressed or suicidal. The coalition will also include male grooming brand Lynx, one of CALM’s key partners.
The Duke of Cambridge welcomes the coalition, to which he will bring his own experience as a Search and Rescue helicopter pilot. He will attend the coalition’s inaugural round table discussion and then visit the RNLI Tower Lifeboat Station to meet first responders who deal with male suicide on a daily basis.
With an estimated daily cost of £20 million, male suicide accounts for 76% of all suicides in the UK. It has a huge impact not only on individuals and families, but also on the workforce of many frontline services and other organisations.
Jane Powell, CEO of CALM, said: “Suicide is frequently bracketed as the actions of the ‘mentally ill’. However, from our helpline we know that men who are suicidal are often tackling the kinds of life problems which can affect any of us, male or female, although it’s damned hard for men to admit to needing help or even find it. With the support of these male-dominated industries who know only too well the impact of suicide, we’re determined to normalise getting men help.”
Jonny Benjamin, who was stopped from jumping from a bridge by a stranger, said:“It’s great to see this fantastic coalition of emergency and transport agencies come together with CALM and Samaritans around the issue of male suicide. There is a real need for a resource to help men feel able to offer help, whether that’s a stranger on a bridge or your best mate.”
The male suicide prevention coalition is announced ahead of Mental Health Awareness Week (16 – 22 May) and the launch of Heads Together, a national campaign spearheaded by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry to promote mental wellbeing.