To celebrate the launch of the new series of Ricky Gervais’ After Life, Netflix has donated 25 benches to local councils around the UK as part of a mental health initiative.
Commissioned with suicide prevention charity the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), the benches feature QR codes leading to online resources and a message of support.
And one of the benches has come to Manchester, and placed in Wythenshawe Park.
After Life explores the different ways we all cope with grief in a way that millions have related to.
In the show, Tony is often seen sitting on a bench at his local churchyard as he reflects on his loss.
The benches are 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.
“Like we try to do at CALM, the show has helped people to stop feeling ashamed or embarrassed about discussing their emotions,” says the charity.
“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.”
In the show, we’ve seen Tony navigate the devastating loss of his wife and decide, day by day, to try to rebuild his life.
“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.
“After Life lets people talk about grief, and it was so good to start the conversation.”
CALM hope that the benches will encourage people to talk – and to seek help if you’re struggling.
“We know benches are a place where you can reflect, talk to someone, sit shoulder to shoulder with someone and get things off your chest,” they say.