A mental health charity has formed a partnership with a key figure in the growing online Fantasy Football community as it continues its strategy of linking up with social media influencers to reach its core audience. The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) supports men at risk of suicide has teamed up with Mark McGettigan, who is known on social media as the @FPLGeneral, for funding and awareness raising activity. With more than 5.5m people playing the Fantasy Premier League (FPL) game worldwide, Fantasy Football has become one of the fastest growing online phenomena in recent years. After hearing about CALM’s work via a podcast, McGettigan, who is a regular pundit on the Premier League’s FPL Show, hosts the 59th Minute Podcast and has a Twitter following of more than 43,000, approached the charity to see how he could help promote their work. Through the partnership McGettigan has launched a Fantasy Football fundraising league in the FPL game and is asking for donations through a Just Giving page. Already more than a £1,000 has been raised.
“I decided to use my reach to raise awareness about CALM & men’s mental health after listening to a very good podcast called Man Talk which I came across on the CALM website,” said McGettigan. “From my Twitter analytics, I can see that 95% of my followers are male. I want to use my reach to get more men talking about their feelings be it to a family member, a friend, GP or even a stranger which is sometimes easier. The Fantasy Football community on Twitter is a great audience for CALM.” Simon Gunning, CALM Chief Executive Officer added: “We’re delighted that FPL General has chosen to fundraise for CALM while highlighting our services across his huge followership on social media. "At CALM, we aim to get our messaging out to men in ways that are accessible and relatable and Fantasy Football is one such community that provides us with an opportunity to do this.” CALM is currently running a joint social media campaign with The Mix, a crisis support charity for young people, to run the #Gramfam Instagram zine. This involves linking up with social media influencers, including singer-songwriter Lucy Spraggan and food blogger Ashleigh Ponder, to help raise awareness of support for young people support during mental health flashpoints in the academic year, such as exams and starting university. Last week CALM and the charity Missing People, each won a £300,000 grant from the Worshipful Company of Information Technologies to help them use artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve the online support they offer vulnerable people.