Hi Dipika and Sam. Thanks for chatting with us! Could you tell us a bit about your role at CALM?
I am the Head of Brand and Marketing. My role is to have an eye on everything that comes from Brand CALM to ensure that our message is reaching as many people as possible and supporting those in need of our services. This goes across articles on our website, content on our social media platforms, partnerships with brands and all the amazing activities we do with our supporters to raise money for the charity.
We have a small, super-capable in-house Studio team at CALM, and as one of its Creatives, I work across all the visual stuff we put out. We love working with different people across any medium, so at any one time we could be working on films, animations, products, OOH campaigns, print and online editorial, social content – and everything in-between.
The team works very collaboratively and always puts a tonne of thought into the conceptual elements of our work. The message is always key, so we love debating and iterating how things look and sound in order to get them to strike the right tone. It’s challenging, but rewarding.
How has COVID-19, or even just the year 2020, impacted your mental wellbeing? What are you looking forward to in 2021?
2020 was, as I’m sure everyone agrees, the weirdest year to live through. There was so much of it that fed into anxieties and worries but there were also parts of it that helped me learn to look after my mental wellbeing a little better. Not being able to see family and friends was horrible and probably the thing I struggled with the most. You don't realise how important it is for your mental wellbeing to just talk about nonsense with you mates until it’s gone.
On the positive side I have learned to slow down, to enjoy time pottering around and just being rather than racing from one thing to the next. Im looking forward to finding a better balance in 2021 and trying to bring back what I loved and maybe leave a few habits behind.
It’s been an absolutely exhausting and enduring period of time, which has felt both like a never-ending slog and a blur. I’ve really tried to be more aware and observant of what my brain is doing – but missing family, friends and the freedoms and spontaneity of life has inevitably taken its toll at times. I am really looking forward to that first cold pint on a hot day.
What have you changed in your life lately to make it more enjoyable?
I'm a bit of a lockdown cliche and proud of it! I rediscovered my love of puzzles and baking to get me through the longest days and toughest times. I've finally realised that sometimes when my mind is going a million hours a second I need to find something that keeps me busy but lets me zone out at the same time.
I love going for runs now, which is weird. I never used to see the appeal at all, but now go out every other morning on my route and listen to intense electronic music or Spurs podcasts. Towards the end of last year I also had loads of fun wiling away evenings and weekends setting up a small, silly business called Condiment Club. It’s an online shop and community for really, really good, sustainably-made, small-batch condiments. It was a perfect distraction from everything.
At CALM you’re, leading a movement against suicide, and for anyone struggling with their mental health. In these challenging times, what can we do to support those who are struggling? How do we bring about collective hope?
Collective hope is hugely important. It's not possible to fight back against something that has had such a profound effect on us all by ourselves - we need support. The actual acts of supporting each other arent ground-breaking, pick up the phone, drop a text, cook up some extra brownies or head out for a run with someone who might be finding times tough. Sparking that moment of human connection is sometimes all it takes to show that tomorrow could be different.
Dipika’s summed it up perfectly. But I hope that the pandemic will have increased our collective levels of empathy. We’ve all struggled at some point in the last 12 months, and if this can be harnessed into the energy to make sure we’re all going towards a society where it’s normal to talk about what’s going on behind the scenes, normal to ask for help when you need it, and normal to take life’s downs with its ups.
Lastly, how can people support the incredible work CALM is doing?
Do what you love doing and do it for Campaign Against Living Miserably. Love running? Run for CALM. Love being vocal on social media? Shout about CALM and its support services. Love getting together with mates for a drink or a bite to eat? Do all that, have a chat about how you're really doing and maybe chuck the cost of a round into the CALM kitty to help fund our life-saving services.