‘After Life’ benches of hope

Hope is Everything

I am a big fan of the Netflix series After Life created and starring comedian Ricky GervaisI am also passionate about supporting mental health awareness.   So when I read that Netflix had teamed up with CALM to install permanent public benches across the UK to promote the final season of After Life I was delighted.  

It is such a wonderful campaign to start the year in what can be a particularly difficult month for people struggling with their mental health.

Image source: CALM

Netflix and CALM created the ‘Benches of Hope’ campaign to coincide with the return of Ricky Gervais’s grief comedy, with the aim to stimulate positive conversations with friends and strangers, and raise awareness of mental health support.

Set in the fictional town of Tambury, After Life stars Ricky Gervais as local newspaper journalist Tony as he contends with intense grief following the death of his wife.  Throughout the series, Tony is seen sitting on a bench reflecting on his loss. 

“Park benches provide opportunities to reflect, talk to someone, sit shoulder to shoulder with someone and get things off your chest,” said Simon Gunning, chief executive of CALM.

Over 25 benches have been installed, each inscribed with the show quote: ‘Hope is Everything.’ The benches also have QR codes that link to a CALM page that says: ‘Life can be tough, but there’s always hope. Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is by your side.’ The QR code also provides resources and mental health advice.

“I don’t think any harm can come from discussing taboo subjects – if we don’t, they stay taboo because people are scared to talk about them,” said Ricky Gervais . “After Life let people talk about grief, and it was so good to start the conversation.”

Gervais added: “We hope the benches will create a lasting legacy for After Life, as well as become a place for people to visit.”

The benches can be found in various locations, including Bath, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Falmouth, Glasgow, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Minehead, Newcastle, Nottingham, Surrey Heath and Taunton. You can check out the full list below.

You can find more information on the CALM website.

Written by Kim Dodd.