Author : Sabrina Barr
Posted on : INDEPENDENT |March 27th , 2018
Text : Harrowing sculptures have been unveiled on top of ITV’s London buildings to raise awareness around male suicide.
Male suicide is the biggest killer of men under the age of 45, with 75 per cent of all suicides in 2015 in the UK reported as being male.
Every single week in the UK, 84 men take their own lives.
Each sculpture that can currently be seen standing on top of the ITV buildings on London’s Southbank represents a real man who took his own life.
The number of men who take their own lives every week is shocking, which is why CALM wanted to highlight the severity of the mental health issue.
“CALM has been campaigning and providing support services for 11 years but, try as we might, it isn’t enough to tackle the enormous problem of male suicide,” said Simon Gunning, CEO of CALM.
“So with Project 84, we wanted to make the scale of the situation very clear to everyone that sees the sculptures.”
CALM and sculptor Mark Jenkins have worked closely with the loved ones of men who have taken their own lives.
The 84 individual stories of the men represented by each sculpture can be read on the Project 84 website, as told by their family and friends.
Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby, hosts of ITV’s This Morning, have spoken about the importance of this poignant campaign.
“Here at This Morning we never shy away from stories that can be difficult to talk about – and without doubt, one of the most heart-breaking is losing a loved one to suicide,” said Schofield.
Willoughby shared her co-host’s sentiments, stating: “That is why today we are unveiling 84 life-sized sculptures – each representing a real man who has taken his own life, in the hope that it will stop people in their tracks, make them pay attention and get them talking.”
Matthew Smith, leader of the Project 84 petition, sadly suffered the loss of his brother 13 years ago.
“The true horror of what we as his family experienced when he took his own life is something that could be preventable if we all take a stand together,” he said.
“Dan was just one of the 84 men who take their own lives every single week in the UK.
“The numbers still shock me and yet there’s no minister in the UK government who is officially responsible for suicide prevention and bereavement support.
“Now is the time for change.”
The campaign has been sponsored by shaving brand Harry’s, who carried out the UK’s most comprehensive study into men’s wellbeing in 2017.
Smith has launched a campaign on change.org in order to address the lack of a minister in government who can be held accountable for issues surrounding suicide prevention.
Sculptor Jenkins believes that the installation has the power to make a big difference.
“Rather than mourning their loss, together we’ve built something based on the hope that out of tragedy we can help drive real, lasting change,” he said.