Londoners woke up to a jarring sight today (March 26). Standing on top of the buildings owned by one of Britain’s biggest broadcasters, ITV, 84 sculptures of men loomed over the UK capital. Dressed in ordinary, casual clothes, they don’t look like statues from a distance—they look like a big group of men about to jump to their deaths.
It’s an arresting, and frightening, image. But that’s the idea.
ITV joined forces with the male suicide prevention charity Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) to showcase the art installation, made by American artist Mark Jenkins and his collaborator, Sandra Fernandez. Dubbed “Project 84,” the sculptures are meant to represent the 84 men who take their own lives every week in the UK. Suicide is the single biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK, with three in four of all suicides being male.
“Achieving our goal of male suicide prevention requires everybody to take a stand. CALM has been campaigning and providing support services for 11 years but, try as we might, it isn’t enough to tackle the enormous problem of male suicide,” said Simon Gunning, CEO of CALM.
“Everyone needs to come together to take this issue seriously: our colleagues, our neighbours, our families and our MPs. If we don’t act now, we will have an even bigger crisis on our hands. The average cost of each suicide in the UK is estimated to be £1.67 million, and when you consider that those bereaved and affected by every suicide – which averages 135 people—are at a 65% higher risk of attempting suicide themselves.”