To combat male suicide, a nonprofit has put 84 humanoid sculptures on top of a skyscraper and other building in London—the same number of men who take their own lives every week in the U.K.
The effort, titled Project 84, was created by the Campaign Against Living Miserably, or CALM, which teamed up with London agency adam&eveDDB and American sculptor Mark Jenkins.
They cast the sculptures with tape, using a technique for which Jenkins is famous, and created them with help from friends and family of men who have committed suicide.
The images are harrowing and haunting—visible atop ITV’s studios in Southbanks. Installed on Monday, they will remain there throughout this week. The TV network is supporting the campaign with programming about suicide, including interviews with surviving loved ones. Public relations agency W Communications is also contributing to the awareness push. Male grooming brand Harry’s is a sponsor of the effort.
The goal is to increase conversation and reduce stigma about the issue, as well as generate more resources to support men at risk of harming themselves. A website for Project 84 features video, photos and stories from the friends and family of men who committed suicide. It also includes a petition, as well as a link to a helpline for men who are struggling with mental health. “Things can get tough, but we can help you get your life back,” it reads. “Being silent isn’t being strong.”
Also included are pointers for people who are concerned about a loved one, and links to bereavement support for those affected by suicide.
In the U.S., one recent sweeping suicide prevention campaign from the Ad Council encouraged young people broadly to be proactive in checking on their friends and loved ones. That’s not to mention rapper Logic’s ad with Google during the Grammys, themed around his hit song named after the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s phone number.
If, by contrast. CALM’s focus on men—as opposed to suicides of all genders—seems confusing, some context may help. As of 2016, roughly three-quarters of suicides in the U.K. were male, according to the country’s Office of National Statistics.
“As a society we have to face this awful issue, discuss it and actively work to stop it,” says Simon Gunning, CEO of CALM, in a statement accompanying the campaign launch. “Project 84 is all about making the scale of the situation very clear, and we hope it will drive change and encourage everyone, government included, to come together to take suicide seriously.”
Add Ant Nelson and Mike Sutherland, deputy executive creative directors at adam&eveDDB: “Male suicide and mental health is a big issue that can’t be ignored any longer. It’s unacceptable that so many men are tragically taking their own lives every week, and yet there are so few people talking about it. Hopefully this piece of work will highlight this shocking statistic and help start conversation.”
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