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By Amy Houston | Reporter

November 24, 2022 | 3 min read

The World Cup footballer helps to challenge stereotypes and shine a spotlight on loneliness in this ad for Campaign Against Living Miserably (Calm).

In the UK alone it’s estimated that 3 million people feel lonely at some point in their lives. To help combat this and encourage folk to seek support, Calm has enlisted the help of premier league footballer Declan Rice.

In ‘The Invisible Opponent 2,’ viewers see the West Ham star playing a game of football in front of huge crowds while silently battling inner thoughts of unhappiness. In the end, a hand reaches out to help him up as the message ‘You don’t have to be alone to feel alone’ appears on the screen, followed by a rallying cry of ‘Let’s tackle it together.’

Created by AMV BBDO and Seven Stones, the film is a metaphor for the mental health struggles that people face and the sense of isolation that comes from tackling them alone.

“Everyone suffers at different times in their life, and there are so many people out there who feel like there isn’t a light at the end of the tunnel – but all it takes is a conversation,” said Rice.

“It’s about having that support network and having people you can speak to. Because no matter who you are or what you’re going through, it should be easy to speak to the people you love. Just one conversation can make a positive difference.”

Sky Sports launched the film during Soccer AM last week and the wider campaign includes TV, outdoor, social media and media partnerships.

Simon Gunning, chief executive officer of Calm, added: “In the UK 125 people die by suicide every week – with 75% of those deaths being male. That’s not OK, and it doesn’t have to be that way. Now, more than ever, we must continue to challenge the stigma that prevents people from seeking the help they need.”

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