Rugby international Joe Marler speaks out alongside CALM on International Men's Day

Rugby international Joe Marler speaks out alongside CALM on International Men's Day

Since lockdown the CALM helpline has answered 84,954 calls and chats and directly prevented 282 suicides

On International Men’s Day (19th November 2020), CALM, a charity leading a movement against suicide and living miserably, has launched a new campaign. 

Created by Recipe, this unique film aims to tackle the stigma surrounding men’s mental health. 

Starring rugby England international, and CALM ambassador, Joe Marler, the short film, specifically created for YouTube, features a cleverly placed hidden message that shines a light on men bottling up their emotions.

In the film, Joe is interviewed talking through a recent match that was a ‘great win’. After talking positively about the outcome of the match, Joe switches tone and urges the viewer to read between the timelines: “How did that sound? Pretty standard?” Joe asks the viewer to hover the cursor over the YouTube timeline preview to get the real story and adds, “I’ll wait”.

The timeline preview reveals the hidden message through motion graphics using GFX – marking the first time this type of message reveal has been used on YouTube. Joe tells the viewer that people, especially men, often hide how they are feeling and don’t talk openly about their struggle with mental health.

The film ends by saying, “It can be hard to tell someone you’re struggling. So, no matter who you are, CALM is here to help you find the words”.

Research shows that a staggering 84% of men in the UK say they bottle up their emotions, with nearly half (44%) saying they suppress their emotions often or at least once a day. And at a time when seeing your mates in person is on hold, feelings of loneliness and isolation amongst men has increased. Indeed, since the beginning of lockdown the CALM helpline has answered 84,954 calls and chats and directly prevented 282 suicides. The vast majority of whom were male. That is why CALM is asking people to look out for one another and check in on family and friends during this time.

Joe Marler commenting on the campaign said: "I’ve struggled with my own mental health for the last few years, and it got particularly dark in the last 18 months. That is why I wanted to get involved in this project, to help others who feel the same as me, and try and help them understand that it’s ok to struggle, and that they are not alone with these feelings.

Rugby is the ultimate macho sport, and there is a fear that if you show any sort of weakness publicly then you’re giving free reign to the opposition to take advantage of any weakness. I always worried that if I was to open up about my mental struggles that it would be used against me by opposition players or seen as a weakness by my own teammates. There’s definitely a stigma surrounding mental health but it’s far better than what it used to be. The more players have come out and opened up about it, the less of a stigma there is around it.”

Marler added: “I’m much better than what I was. When I opened-up to my wife about my struggles it made me feel so much better to get it off my chest and share the issues I was having. The more I’ve spoken openly with my friends and family about my issues the stronger I’ve felt. It’s strong to be open and honest about how you feel, it’s not a weakness in the slightest. The weakness is not being there for your loved ones and vice versa.”

Simon Gunning, at CALM said “There are 18 deaths by suicide every day in the UK, with 75% of those being male. That is unacceptable. Like Joe, we all go through tough times, whether it’s the breakdown of a relationship, losing a job, financial worries, or going through a bereavement. But as men we sometimes we try to mask our emotions and put on a brave face. That is why now, more than ever, we must continue to challenge a culture that prevents men from opening up and seeking the help they need. It’s important we open up and talk about how we feel, and to not always take things at face value if you think someone close to you is feeling down.”

Matt Waller, creative director at Recipe said, This is a clever platform hack which shows us the importance of looking behind the 'brave face', that our friends and loved ones may present to us, especially in these times when we are spending more and more time behind a screen. If Joe Marler can show us his softer side and vulnerabilities, so can we all."


Creative Agency: Recipe
Production Company: Recipe
Post-Production: Recipe

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