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Tragedy's flip side

Keith Carter, Chris Cairns et al stand up for a male mental health charity in its own hour of need

Published on November 8th 2007.

Tragedy's flip side

It's easy to appear unconcerned when people burden you with their seemingly trivial problems (writes Ben Patey), and near impossible not to unfavourably compare their own woes with your own. I mean, we all get stressed. Right?

But most of us know, deep down, that's exactly the wrong response. And when it comes to men, especially, remaining silent can be way easier than summoning the strength it takes to unburden an anxiety and risk a flippant reaction.

Young men are often seen as a problem in society and we send mixed messages to lads, on one hand telling them to "take it on the chin, "be a man", and "it's wrong to show emotion", yet also expecting them to be caring and thoughtful.

Its website, www.thecalmzone.net, attracts more than 7,000 hits a day. Around 68 per cent of calls to its online and telephone helplines, when available, are from men: 30 per cent of male callers are aged 25 or under; 32 per cent are aged between 25-35. Statistics which, like the troubled friend, should not be ignored.

However, a lack of funds means the webchat and helpline are currently disabled: A potential lifeline, literally, is unavailable.

So what can we do to raise the necessary funds needed to get them up and running again, and helping men in our city? "Stand Up To Stop Suicide" is a comedy event that's being put on in Liverpool, showcasing the best comic talent. around.

MC Chris Cairns, said "The CALM campaign is something that fellas like, they see it around and it makes sense to them. When I was asked to do the gig I felt it was a great way to get behind the campaign and have some fun at the same time."

Suicide kills twice as many people as HIV/AIDS, but CALM co-ordinator Simon Howes tells us why we should look to the funny side.

"Laughing makes you feel good, it's clinically proven, so why not have a laugh and raise money and awareness of the issue at the same time? The night aims to do all of these, enabling us to re-open our helpline, get more people involved in promoting CALM and get a lot of people smiling and feeling good. It's a great combination. "

*Stand Up To Stop Suicide, with Keith Carter as Nige, Chris Cairns (MC), Mick Ferry, Daliso Chaponda and Paul Smith. Mood Bar, 18-20, Fleet St, Liverpool, Merseyside L1 4AN (0151 709 8181). Tuesday 13th November 2007, 7.30pm. Ticketweb.co.uk for tickets - £7 + booking fee. 08700 600100

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