One of the consequences of the past year of pandemic and intermittent lockdown has been a partial public opening to dialogue about mental health. The sharing of an inner discomfort by leading figures – I’m thinking of Naomi Osaka and Simon Biles – has partly helped to focus more on how to communicate such a delicate topic. Starting from the search for new communication strategies, the British charity CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably), relied on the creative studio Output for a complete rebranding in the way of making itself known and approaching more people in trouble. CALM, which has been working for years to prevent suicides by supporting people with mental mental health problems, is therefore establishing a new type of dialogue, which no longer uses repulsive and cold institutional websites, but posters, strong slogans, infographics and a new social communication. The goal is to create messages that do not go unnoticed, so they are posted along the streets, with soft but bright colors, which capture the attention of those who are more difficult to admit or just recognize the signs of depression, which in England every year leads to suicide 6000 people, of which 75% are male.
CALM and Output’s initiative is not a naïve way of tackling the issue of mental health. Rather it is an attempt to prevent suicide by widening the audience of people who voluntarily or accidentally are affected by the bold graphics and slogans. The use of precise and direct words like “suicide,” not masked with softer synonyms is another means by which to get to the point of the problem as effectively as possible, as is the use of real subjects in the posters, not illustrations or drawings but flesh and blood faces.Reviewing a new way, primarily visual, with which we are accustomed to think about the world of psychological therapies is the great insight of CALM. Poster art, by definition accessible to all, when it involves social issues, must not only suggest the birth of debates or preserve the memory of people and moments, but also have words that speak directly, unequivocally and reassuringly.