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The After Life bench is one of 25 comissioned by Netflix after the streaming service teamed up with suicide prevention charity Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) and will take pride of place at the Edinburgh landmark.
Each of the benches features a QR code leading to online resources, a message of support and is inscribed with the words, 'Hope is everything', a quote from the third series of the hit programme.
Set in the fictional town of Tambury, After Life stars Gervais as local newspaper journalist Tony as he contends with intense grief following the death of his wife. Throughout the series, he returns to a park bench to reflect on his loss.
At the launch of the After Life mental health scheme Gervais said, “We hope the benches will create a lasting legacy for After Life, as well as become a place for people to visit, and we are thrilled to be associated with CALM and the great work they do.”
Simon Gunning, chief executive at CALM, added, “Park benches provide opportunities to reflect, talk to someone, sit shoulder to shoulder with someone and get things off your chest.“That is why we’re delighted to team up with Netflix to put benches in parks across the country, inscribed with that crucial line from the show, ‘Hope is everything’, to help people have those conversations and to show it’s normal to have those feelings.”
A statement shared by the charity agreed, ‘He’s not wrong. After Life, equal parts moving, poignant and heartbreaking (as well as laugh-out-loud funny), explores the different ways we all cope with grief in a way that millions have related to."
‘We’ve watched as Tony navigates the devastating loss of his wife and we’ve seen him decide, day by day, to keep living and try to rebuild his life. Like we try to do at CALM, the show has helped people to stop feeling ashamed or embarrassed about discussing their emotions. It’s a show that makes you think about your own life, how you handle tragedy, what it all means and what’s important to you."’It’s showed that, yes, grief does hit you like a ton of bricks, but talking openly, in a real way, about how you’re feeling does actually really help. And in this series it shows that hope is everything.’Some 125 lives are lost every week to suicide with 75% of all UK suicides being male. CALM's aim is to change this by provoking conversation, running life-saving services, and bringing people together so they can get help when they need it.
As well as the Calton Hill, After Life benches can also be found in cities across the UK.
After Life, created, written, starring, produced, and directed by Ricky Gervais premiered on Netflix in 2019. A second series followed a year later with the third and final season launched this month.
Gervais last played Edinburgh when he toured his show Humanity to the Playhouse in 2018, his first gig in the Capital since Science 2009.
Campaign Against Living Miserably’s helpline and webchat are open 5pm-12am, call 0800 58 58 58.