Simon Gunning, CEO of CALM

In the UK, 84 men take their own life every single week. This was the statistic behind CALM's incredible 'Project 84' campaign which helped to raise awareness of this shocking fact.

We have been lucky enough to talk to their CEO, Simon Gunning. 

What is CALM and what is its message? 

Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is leading a Movement Against Suicide — offering life saving services, provoking national conversation and bringing people together to empower everyone to reject living miserably and stand together against suicide. We do this through the operation of a helpline and through campaigning for societal and personal change. We operate in the middle of popular culture, using football, comedy, music, running, cycling, art and everything in between to help people enjoy happier lives.

 

What motivates you to do what you do? 

It's really simple and might sound contrived but it's just to do the best job I can. CALM has grown incredibly quickly over the last 3 or so years and the impact we're making through our campaigns, our partnerships and our helpline is incredibly rewarding. It's really good fun too - I get to work with people at the top of their game, whether that's creative agencies, talent, brand partners or mental health specialists and the team at CALM inspires me every day.

What challenges have you faced up till now?

The suicide rate in the UK is rising and we want to stop that. In fact we're determined to do so by helping people at the point of crisis and by helping countless more to never get to that point. Covid has been incredibly challenging as our normal activities of sporting events, gigs, shows and everything else has been on hold + running a business with so many moving parts from home has been....interesting. 

What are your goals for CALM for the future?

We must grow awareness of the issues we tackle and awareness that we're here to help. There's going to be fallout from Covid and lockdown, it might be mild or it might be huge and we must be there for whoever needs us. That's what we exist to do. In order to achieve that we need to go even harder on our campaigning and support - creativity is at the heart of everything we do and we've got an incredible team and amazing partners so I'm confident we can grow to meet demand.

One piece of advice you would give your younger self who's wanting to move up the ladder in his career?

Stop bloody worrying and enjoy the ride. I've worked in such interesting places across music, TV, advertising and now CALM but I made the mistake of not relaxing and enjoying it too many times. As my current favourite band Fontaines DC said on their last record; you only get one line, you'd better make it stick.
To learn more about the amazing work CALM do please visit https://www.thecalmzone.net