ITV News' Sally Biddulph reports on the nationwide scheme hoping to make a difference
The benches were commissioned with suicide prevention charity the Campaign Against Living Miserably (Calm) and feature QR codes leading to online resources and a message of support.
After Life’s third and final series was released on Friday, starring Gervais as local journalist Tony, a man plunged into intense grief following the death of his wife, while also trying to become a better friend to those around him in his home town of Tambury.
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In the show, Tony is often seen sitting on a bench at his local churchyard as he reflects on his loss.
The benches will feature in locations including Bath, Birmingham, Glasgow, Liverpool and Taunton and are inscribed with a quote from the third series: “Hope is Everything.”
Gervais, the creator of shows including The Office and Extras, 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.”
Ricky Gervais talks to ITV News about what can be expected from the final series of Afterlife
Calm chief executive Simon Gunning said: “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.
After Life was Netflix’s second most popular series of 2019, behind fantasy drama The Witcher.
Gervais writes, directs and executive produces the show, which also stars Penelope Wilton, David Bradley, Ashley Jensen, Tom Basden, Tony Way, Kerry Godliman, Roisin Conaty and Diane Morgan.
More information can be found via the Calm website.
Who to contact if you or someone you know needs help
Samaritans operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year, by calling 116 123. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at email@example.com
Papyrus offer support for children and young people under the age of 35 over the phone on 0800 068 41 41 between 9am – midnight every day of the year. If you would rather text you can do so on 07786 209697 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Rethink Mental Illness offer practical advice and information for anyone affected by mental health problems on a wide range of topics including treatment, support and care. Phone 0300 5000 927 (Mon-Fri 9.30am-4pm) or visit rethink.org
Campaign Against Living Miserably's (CALM) helpline and webchat are open from 5pm until midnight, 365 days a year. Call CALM on 0800 58 58 58 or chat to their trained helpline staff online. No matter who you are or what you're going through, it's free, anonymous and confidential.
If you have an emergency and a life is in danger, contact the emergency services on 999.