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Beavertown initiative aims to safeguard mental health

Heineken-owned Beavertown Brewery has teamed up with the charity Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) to launch packets of crisps that contain questions to encourage conversations around mental health.

The initiative will see the crisps, named ‘Open Up’, becoming available for free across 260 participating Young’s pubs and independent venues across Britain every Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday throughout April. Reasons behind this are due to the fact that the study found that pubs can provide a safe space for these conversations, with one in three (30%) saying that they feel more at ease opening up in a pub or over a drink.

The plan is for the breweries and pub business to assist the charity in a bid to help the nation open up after research commissioned by Beavertown Brewery revealed that over half (56%) of Brits have pretended to be ‘okay’ to avoid talking about their mental health and 60% feel there is still a stigma around it in today’s society.

According to the brewery, the new Cheddar & Jalapeño-flavoured crisps come packed with emotive questions and prompts printed on the interior of the packets, to encourage people to open up about how they’re really feeling. In addition to this, the launch is being supported by English comedian and actor Tom Davis who has openly documented his struggles with mental health.

The questions, designed by CALM, include queries like: “What gets you through tough times?” and “If you could give your younger self advice, what would it be?” This is due to the research revealing that nearly half (46%) of 18-44 year olds have said that they wouldn’t know how to start a conversation with friends about their mental health.

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Davis explained: “We often shy away from getting deep and opening up with our loved ones about what’s going on in our lives, masking it with comedy — something I’ve done many times. These crisps give you that natural invitation to start sharing in a laid-back way, right there at the pub, which is the perfect place to do so if you ask me. The only downside is you do have to share your crisps, which I am fundamentally against, but you can always just get another bag.”

Speaking about the initiative, Beavertown Brewery’s marketing director Tom Rainsford said: “Pubs are a place where we can come together with our mates to catch-up and chat, but that doesn’t mean we always feel able to be honest about how we really feel.”

Rainsford highlighted how the “research shows that nearly half of us don’t know how to start a conversation about mental health with our friends. We hope our Open Up crisps, created in partnership with CALM, will give people an opportunity to have an open chat with their friends. Head to your nearest participating pub, grab a bag and have that decent chat with a mate”.

Simon Gunning, CEO of the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), added: “Our partnership with Beavertown is about finding ways to help us all feel more connected. And while there are things in life that can feel awkward to share – even with our best mates, crisps definitely aren’t one of them. With conversation starters inside, these Open Up crisps will help you share more than a tasty snack. Checking in with your mate is one of the most important things you can do – it’s not always obvious if someone is struggling, so together we’re finding ways to make important conversations part of our routine”.

The study had polled 2,000 people and also revealed that nearly three in ten (28%) admit feeling awkward about sharing personal issues, and that (42%) of people would be more likely to open up to someone who had opened up to them first.

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