Breaking the silence: How an image, not an ad transformed the way the UK treats male suicide

IPA Effectiveness Awards Case Study 2020

Project 84 demonstrates how CALM transformed the way the UK treats male suicide, by placing 84 statues on top of the ITV tower for the whole world to see. Despite growing awareness of its prevalence as the single- biggest killer of men under 45, male suicide rates were increasing. This was in no small part a result of the deafening silence surrounding the issue; the less suicide was discussed, the more stigmatized and virulent it became. Despite a total budget of £100,000 Project 84 pierced this silence, sparking widespread media coverage and social conversation. The intervention led to the prevention of 283 suicides, the appointment of the UK’s first Minister for Suicide Prevention, and delivered a societal payback of £5,119 per £1 spent.

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There’s one word we’ve always used to describe Project 84, ever since the idea was first presented: watershed. It was a watershed moment for our sector – proving with great effect that it wasn’t just acceptable, but necessary, to tackle suicide head on. It was a watershed moment for CALM – allowing us to significantly increase and diversify our service capabilities, as well as widen our broader efforts to instigate a populist movement against suicide. Most importantly, it was a watershed moment for anyone and everyone in this country who has ever felt vulnerable, scared, alone, depressed, and – yes – suicidal. When those statues appeared on the ITV tower, we weren’t just visualizing the scale of male suicide. We were standing against it. We were standing in solidarity with all those – victims, survivors, families and friends – affected by the menace of suicide, refusing to let it go unnoticed for one second longer. The results, as this paper demonstrates, speak for themselves. But our work is far from done. As the UK re-emerges from the medical, social, psychological and economic catastrophe of Covid-19, it will likely be met by a perilously embattled charity sector, and the beginnings of a long term national mental health crisis. Make no mistake: we will need another watershed. Thanks to Project 84, we’ve found the blueprint and the bravery to meet this challenge head on.

Simon Gunning, CEO
The Campaign Against Living Miserably

Winners 2020

Bronze Winner


Breaking the silence: How an image, not an ad transformed the way the UK treats male suicide


The Campaign Against Living Miserably


The Campaign Against Living Miserably



Principal Authors

  • Will Grundy - adam&eveDDB

Contributing Authors

  • Tom Roach - adam&eveDDB
  • Martin Beverley - adam&eveDDB
  • Sarah Carter - adam&eveDDB
  • Nic English - adam&eveDDB
  • Luke Williams - adam&eveDDB
  • Ben Hawley - CALM
  • Dipika Saggi - CALM
  • Dr. Grace Kite - Gracious Economics

Credited Companies

  • ITV - Media
  • Harry's Grooming Company - Brand/Client
  • W Comms - 0

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