Watch: CALM enlists comedians to bring lockdown cheer

Male mental-health charity CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) and Twitter have joined forces to bring stand-up comedy into people's feeds each day this week, in a campaign developed with The Romans.

A major concern about life under lockdown is its potential impact on mental health.

CALM – a charity leading a movement against suicide – recorded a 37 per cent increase in call demand in the first week after the UK lockdown was announced, and record numbers continue to use its free confidential helpline and webchat service.

On average,125 people in the UK take their own lives every week, with males accounting for 75 per cent of all suicides in the UK.

SInce lockdown began, more than one-third of Twitter users (37 per cent) have spent more time on social media, and are looking for connections, news and entertainment. Nine out of 10 Twitter users said a distraction to take their mind off things would help improve their mental health at this time.

CALM teamed up with Twitter to launch #CALMComedyClub, a livestreamed comedy series offering big laughs from big names.

The campaign, which was developed in collaboration with The Romans, kicked off yesterday (Monday, 27 April) with a 24-minute Russell Kane video that had nearly 250,000 viewers at the time of writing.

It will continue at 3pm today with Paul Chowdry, and continue with Dane Baptiste (Wednesday), Nigel Ng (Thursday) and Seann Walsh (Friday).

“We can no longer physically attend a comedy gig, and rightfully so, but we want to help raise spirits and bring some smiles to people’s kitchens or living rooms through #CALMComedyClub. CALM does so much great work through its helpline and webchat service, so it is great to be able to use the power of social media to support this,” Kane said.

CALM chief executive Simon Gunning said: “In these uncertain times, CALM’s life-saving services are needed more than ever.

“We’ve seen a 37 per cent increase in demand for our helpline since stricter lockdown measures were put in place, so we want to give people some fun and laughter, but also remind them that we are here should they need us, no matter what.”

CALM runs a free and anonymous helpline and webchat service from 5pm to midnight 365 days a year. In 2018, it prevented 675 suicides.

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