Samaritans campaign uses handwriting of real men

Campaign is created by Mother, working with Goodstuff, National Rail and talkSPORT.

Samaritans campaign uses handwriting of real men

Mother has created a campaign for Samaritans that features messages from real men who have experienced depression and suicide attempts, using their own handwriting.

The work, "Real people, real stories", was developed with Goodstuff Communications and supported by National Rail. It encourages men who need help to contact the charity for free on 116 123 or at

The creative idea is based on the insight that, for people in a place of desperation, the most comforting thing can be the knowledge that they are not alone in their experience.

It follows a nationwide survey by Samaritans of men aged 20-59 in England, Scotland and Wales that found 41% do not seek support when they need it because they prefer to solve their problems themselves.

The study revealed that the leading reasons men struggled were debt or financial worries (36%), relationship breakdown or family problems (30%), loneliness or isolation (29%) and job loss or job-related problems (25%).

The out-of-home activity focuses on key geographical areas, while a digital campaign will utilise behavioural triggers to identify those who show signs of vulnerability. Samaritans will also host more than 50 events around the country.

A partnership with talkSPORT, meanwhile, will involve an editorial series that shines a light on the positive impact of real men’s stories, using sport as a vehicle to talk about mental and emotional well-being. It will feature ex-professional sportsmen Nigel Owens, Chris Kirkland and George Groves.

Paul McDonald, executive director of external affairs at Samaritans, said: "We didn’t want to create just another awareness campaign; we wanted something authentic and emotive. So we asked men to share their stories with us. Men who have been through tough times and come through the other side.

"They wrote some words down and we’ve got those words on the posters to inspire and encourage other men going through difficult times to seek help and to contact Samaritans if they’re ready to talk."

Anyone in the UK can contact Samaritans free any time from any phone on 116 123 – even a mobile without credit. This number won’t show up on your phone bill. You can email or visit to find details of your nearest branch, where you can talk to a trained volunteer face to face.

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