England footballer Declan Rice features in a suicide prevention charity’s new campaign aimed at tackling loneliness.
Rice, who played as England beat Iran 6-2 in the World Cup on Monday, stars in a new advert for Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM).
The midfielder, 23, wearing the Three Lions’ kit, is alone on the pitch in the advert, trying to tackle invisible opponents.
A crowd watches on as he appears to struggle, before a helping hand arrives to pull him up from the ground.
It is metaphor for the mental health struggles and the sense of isolation that comes from tackling them alone, the charity says.
CALM’s messages “You don’t have to be alone to feel alone” and “Let’s tackle it together” flash across the screen in the advert.
CALM says its helplines are now answering more calls around loneliness than anything else.
It says more people than ever are turning to its helpline and webchat services for support.
Demand for its helpline and webchat is up 62% compared to pre-pandemic levels and up 21% on last year, CALM says.
On average, it receives more than 20,000 calls and webchats per month.
It cites a government survey for 2020/2021, published in July 2021, which found 6% of respondents, approximately three million people in England, said they feel lonely often or always.
West Ham player Rice, unveiled as a CALM ambassador earlier this month, said: “Everyone suffers at different times in their life and there’s so many people out there who feel like there isn’t a light at the end of the tunnel – but all it takes is a conversation.
“It’s about having that support network and having people you can speak to.
“Because no matter who you are or what you’re going through it should be easy to speak to the people you love.
“Just one conversation can make a positive difference.”
CALM’s chief executive officer Simon Gunning said: “Anyone can feel lonely, no matter your age, gender or background.
“But everyone experiences that feeling in different ways.
“You can feel alone when you’re with your friends or you can feel it by yourself.
“It can be triggered by big life changes, or it can have no specific trigger at all.
“How and where you feel alone doesn’t change the fact that it can be really tough to deal with those feelings, and often people feel too ashamed to talk about it.
“That’s why we need to tackle it together.
“And show people, however you feel right now, you’re never alone.
“There’s always someone on your side – and CALM is always here.”
If you’re struggling or worried about someone, head to thecalmzone.net for practical support and advice.
You can view the advert at: https://youtu.be/nHDpJebqPQU