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Feeling blue? London’s park benches are helping the fight for mental health

Ricky Gervais has unveiled ‘After Life’ benches for anyone struggling to cope

Phil de Semlyen
Written by
Phil de Semlyen

Ricky Gervais’s much-loved series, After Life, has been bringing joy to a lot of people since it launched on Netflix this week – a tonic to gulp down during dark and difficult times.

But Gervais and the streamer have taken the show’s caring ethos a step further by teaming up with suicide charity CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) to launch a smart new initiative for people struggling with their mental health.

Twenty-five benches have been donated to parks across the UK, including six in London. Each will boast a QR code linking to online resources and a message of support. Each will be inscribed with a quote from the show: ‘Hope is everything.’

The London benches can be found in Highgate Wood, Parliament Hill, Queen’s Park, Ravenscourt Park, York House Gardens in Richmond, and the Rookery Gardens in Streatham. 

‘Park benches provide opportunities to reflect, talk to someone, sit shoulder to shoulder with someone and get things off your chest,’ explains the CALM CEO Simon Gunning of the scheme.

‘We hope the benches will become a place for people to visit,’ says Gervais, ‘and we are thrilled to be associated with CALM and the great work they do.’

If you’re yet to fall for under the show’s spell and or don’t 100 percent get the whole bench thing, After Life follows Tony (Gervais), a widower who takes solace on a bench at his local churchyard as he grieves for his wife Lisa (Kerry Godliman).

Tony also has a dog, Brandy, and mindful of worries over its possible fate in the season, Netflix has posted a tweet specifically to reassure anxious viewers that she makes it through. See, a show that really cares.

After Life Season 3 is on Netflix now.

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