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ITV Unveils Project 84 Sculptures To Raise Awareness Of Male Suicide

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ITV Unveils Project 84 Sculptures To Raise Awareness Of Male Suicide

The central London headquarters of ITV has been covered in 84 male statues as part of Project 84, a campaign that seeks to raise awareness of male suicide in the UK. Each of the figures represents a man lost to suicide, coinciding with the average of 84 men per week.

The figures are made from packing tape and are part of an art installation by American sculptor Mark Jenkins, who was commissioned to create the piece by the charity CALM - the Campaign Against Living Miserably - which works to raise awareness of mental health issues among men and specifically to counteract male suicide, which is the larger killer of men under 40 in the UK.

CALM released a statement to coincide with the launch of the installation, which reads: "The statistics are shocking. Every two hours a man in the UK takes his own life. Male suicide and mental health is a big issue that can't be ignored any longer.

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"It's unacceptable that so many men are dying from suicide on a daily basis, yet so few people are talking about it.

Credit: CALM / ITV
Credit: CALM / ITV

"To stop people in their tracks, make them pay attention and inspire much needed conversation and action around suicide, we partnered with the internationally renowned artist, Mark Jenkins, and his collaborator Sandra Fernandez, to create 84 individual sculptures.

"Friends and family members of the deceased helped in the creation process of the figures. Each one, a poignant reminder of a real life lost and a call to society to come together and ultimately take a stand against male suicide."

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Seven of the figures are on top of the ITV studios and today's edition of This Morning opened with Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby introducing the statues.

Credit: CALM / ITV
Credit: CALM / ITV

"Here at this morning we never shy away from stories that can difficult to talk about - and without doubt, one of the most heartbreaking is losing a loved one to suicide," said Phillip.

"That is why today we are unveiling 84 life sizes 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," added Holly.

The figures certainly have had an effect. Perched on top of ITV Tower, they almost look as if they are about to jump off - surely not unintentional - and have caused plenty of debate on Twitter regarding whether the message is a little bit too stark.

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Phil and Holly introduce the Project 84 campaign. Credit: ITV / This Morning
Phil and Holly introduce the Project 84 campaign. Credit: ITV / This Morning

"Raising mental health issues for men is a great idea but I'm sorry to say a lot of people are going to find those statues on your building disturbing. I feel really uncomfortable looking at them... especially knowing someone close to me witnessed a very sad incident," wrote one person on Twitter.

Another user agreed, posting: "Whilst I agree men's mental health is a massive issue and should be spoken about I'm not sure lots of statues of men on the rooftops of buildings looking ready to jump is the best idea as not everyone will understand the reasoning and may call the police."

There were others who backed the campaign, however. "If Project 84 shocks you, good. Those 84 men felt they had nowhere to turn, I'd bet all 84 were wrong. But believe me, when you are that low, all logic & reason leaves you & all that's left is utter desolation. Shocked? Yes, But I bet you talk about it," wrote one user.

Credit: CALM / ITV
Credit: CALM / ITV

"Think it's amazing This Morning is highlighting men's mental health. It's not talked about enough. It's great the work they're doing with Project 84, men should never be ashamed - it's ok to talk," wrote another.

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'U OK M8?' is an initiative from LADbible in partnership with a range of mental health charities which features a series of films and stories to raise awareness of mental health.

Explore more here and don't suffer in silence. Reach out. It's the brave thing to do.

MIND: 0300 123 3393.

Samaritans: 116 123.

CALM: Outside London 0808 802 5858, inside London 0800 58 58 58.

Featured Image Credit: CALM / ITV

Topics: This Morning, Mental Health, LADbible, ITV

Mike Wood

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