People

Normal People: You could own Paul Mescal’s chain (and support a mental health charity)

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Helen Bownass
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Actor Paul Mescal, who plays Connell in hit drama Normal People, is raffling his chain to raise money for vital mental health provision. Here’s how you can be in with a chance of owning it. 

If you’ve seen Normal Peopleand 38 million people have requested it on BBC iPlayer so there’s every chance you have - you’ll probably have also noticed protagonist Connell Waldron’s chain. It has become so ubiquitous that an Instagram account dedicated to it, set up by Stylist’s own Billie Bhatia, has over 160 thousand followers.

And this week Normal People actor Paul Mescal, and his chain, are the cover stars of Stylist.  

We spent a (socially distant) sunny day with the star of the hit BBC drama. who told us filming the scene where Connell breaks down was “brutal”. He added: “They called cut and I was still bawling. I wanted desperately for Connell’s pain to feel authentic. A massive percentage of people will experience something that Connell and Marianne are experiencing in regards to their mental health.” To read more, download the Stylist app on Apple or Google Play

The Irish actor has decided to raffle his famous chain to raise money for a mental health charity that has particular personal meaning. Pieta House in Dublin was established in 2006 and provides free crisis intervention services to those experiencing suicidal ideation, those engaging in self-harm, and those bereaved by suicide.

“I am delighted to be able to help Pieta by raffling off one of my own chains,” says Mescal. “Pieta is a cause very close to my heart, having experienced loss due to suicide in my local town while growing up. Suicide and depression are themes directly linked to Normal People especially around episodes nine and ten which is why I want to help those in similar situations.”

The raffle will be open for two weeks from May 25th until Monday June 8th. To be in with a chance to win Paul’s chain and support Pieta, click here and make a donation to enter. Donations start at €10, which is the cost to fund one lifesaving call to Pieta’s 24-hour freephone helpline.

Paul Mescal
Normal People's Paul Mescal

Normal People has been praised for its authentic and nuanced depiction of mental health, particularly as Connell slides into a deep depression that’s exacerbated by the death by suicide of a childhood friend. By Connell speaking to a counsellor when he was at his lowest point the show helps shatter myths that men should be strong and stoic. It shows us the power of talking and being listened to. 

Tragically suicide is the single biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK and the cause of 18 deaths every day. In the UK, men are three times more likely to die by suicide than women. In the Republic of Ireland, that number is even higher: men are four times more likely than women to take their own lives.

Which is why it’s vital we open up conversations around mental health, support those in need  and ensure people know it’s always okay to ask for help.

Samaritans operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. For confidential support call the Samaritans in the UK on 08457 90 90 90 or visit a local Samaritans branch.

Images: Tom Van Schelven, Getty, Instagram