Eddy Says

Eddy Says: Killing January

By | Published on Tuesday 27 January 2015

In his first CMU column for a while, Eddy Temple-Morris returns with news of a new campaign for male suicide prevention charity CALM.

CALM Manuary (large)

Suicide is the biggest killer of young men under the age of 45 in the UK, with men four times more likely to kill themselves than women. January is the hardest month for many struggling with depression, which is why Eddy and CALM have come up with a plan for the next one.

I know. It’s been a while since I wrote anything here.

I could tell you it was writer’s block. And it sort of was. But it was something deeper than that. Something darker than that. Something people don’t talk about very much. I was suffering from depression. Not ‘being depressed’. That’s different. I was, in the words of a cognitive behavioural therapist, “at the brink of insanity” by the end of 2013. The insomnia I’d had for almost a year had got so bad I was averaging 8-12 hours sleep per week.

Walls became liquid. I was convinced I could hear people’s thoughts. I fell into a downward spiral.

When you regularly spend three or four days awake, your cognitive function goes out of the window. You make really bad decisions. I now saw death as the only way forward.

I thought about killing myself almost every minute of every day. I had a plan. I worked out exactly how do it. Where to do it. I knew the exact parking space I would leave my car in.

I just wanted to push a button that would forever end my miserable existence.

I wanted to die.

There. I said it.

It’s quite rare to see that written down, or hear it spoken. Normally that would be bottled up and saved for a suicide note. “He never told us he was hurting so much”. I’ve heard the same story time and time again, always with a heart-breaking ending, that involves someone beloved found hanging, or in a pool of their own blood, or disappeared with just clothes left on a bridge.

I don’t mind telling people now because while I was ill (and it is just an illness remember), I discovered something so wonderful:When you share these feelings, actually quite incredible things happen.

I’m alive because I talked. To friends, loved ones, colleagues, family, and when I did, I found out that nine out of ten of them had experienced the same thing, or near as damn it. When you admit that you’re really in a bad way, you’d be shocked how many people you know have been through the same thing. It was astonishing. The support and empathy I got from so many people was just soul-huggingly brilliant, so uplifting, so healing.

I became closer to a whole lot of friends during that time. Some of them texted me almost every day, just to see if I was OK, to let me know they were thinking of me, and that is what kept my head above water. They had all been through the same thing. And got through it, to a much better place. But before that happened, it was the build up to Christmas and what most of you call New Year where I hit rock bottom.

Why am I telling you all this? The reason is simple.

It’s January.

January is, if all statistics were piled on top of one another, the worst month of the year.

It’s the apex point of couples splitting up in this country.

It’s the darkest, most miserable month of them all.

We know from the massive spike in calls to the CALM helpline that people, especially men, really suffer at this time of year. You can picture the situations, if you think about it.

The father who lost custody of his kids and spent his first Christmas alone. The man who split up with his girlfriend and lost so many friends in the acrimony of it all. The caring father who spent his entire months salary on Christmas presents, before losing his job, and now doesn’t have enough money to pay the rent or bills. The poor, homeless man who just can’t face another winter being so cold his bones and teeth hurt. The ones that can’t go home at Christmas because home is where the hate is.

January is full of these people, watching the walls or the streets or the tunnels close in around them, stuck in a hole where they can’t see the horizon, refusing to speak to anyone, trying to make sense of the world and failing… miserably.

January needs to be wiped away.

So here’s the thing.

I’m not ill any more. I certainly don’t want to kill myself. And I am so, so lucky I didn’t. But there’s one thing I do want to kill: I want to kill January.

A year from now, we will, once again, be in the first month of a new Christian calendar, but we won’t be in ‘January’… we’ll be in Manuary.


We are taking over January and banishing it.

When I say we, I mean CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably), the male-focused suicide charity that I’m honoured to be Chair of the Music Board for.

And here’s how we’ll do it.

We have to start reaching out now, firstly to bands, DJs, promoters, party starters, labels, managers, agents, venues, everybody in music…then beyond, to brands, restaurants, bars, shops, anyone, everyone, and say this to them…

Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45. Bigger than anything. Cancer, drugs, cars, bikes, you name it. Men are four times more likely to kill themselves than women. And January is the critical time when more men are at risk than any other time, so let’s get together to try to stop it. Or at least staunch it. Stem the flow. Make a difference.

Here’s how:

Every event in January, or Manuary, as it will become known from next January onwards, every gig, every club, every event, we’re going to ask if the organisers, sponsors, or hosts can give men a break. Let men in for a reduced fee, or give them a free beer when they get there, or a VIP wristband, anything to get men smiling at this awful time of year. Something to get them talking, going out, communicating, which is the key to all this. Nobody kills themselves when they’re talking to someone.

We’re going to organise a big party and a host of incredible artists have pledged their support, headed by the amazing Professor Green, who you may have seen fronting CALM’s BBC Lifeline Appeal earlier this month.

But it’s not just about the big names and the big events, it’s more about the grass roots. It’s not just clubs and gigs I want to loop together, it’s individuals. An event could be something as intimate as one man saying “I’m going to this pub on this night, and I’m bringing my Scrabble board, seeking a few kindred spirits”.

Or somebody hosting a coffee morning, or a listening session, an album playback, a supper club, a hangover breakfast, nothing is too small, everything counts.
Imagine a map of the UK on the CALM website. You click where you live, and all these events in January come up: Where they are, what they are, what kind of discount or concession you might get, and it could be anything.

We’ll be asking Nandos if they’ll change their name to Mandos for that month and give men discounted chicken. We’ll ask every brand, every shop, if they’ll do something, anything to make men smile in Manuary.

And this all starts now, with you.

Just think about it.

Talk about it.

Spread the word.

Spread the love and the caring and the understanding.

At the end of this month, in just a few days in fact, it’s over.

January is dead.


Long live…


To get involved with Manuary 2016, get in touch with CALM through Twitter or www.thecalmzone.net