Leeds College of Building is today (Thursday 10 October) celebrating the success of its partnership with Andy’s Man Club, the male suicide-prevention charity.
Andy’s Man Club was launched by Luke Ambler, a former International Rugby League player, in 2016. Luke’s brother-in-law, Andy Roberts, sadly died by suicide. Luke and his family were left devastated by the news because there were no signs that Andy might be struggling with his mental health.
It was in response to this tragic life event that Luke launched ‘Andy’s Man Club’ in Halifax – a safe space for men to open up to others in a similar situation. Today, there are 22 groups held nationwide and Leeds College of Building became the first College in the UK to host a support group. Since opening 18 months ago, between 35-45 men attend the College meet-up each week.
This year, the theme set by the World Federation for Mental Health for World Mental Health Day is suicide prevention. Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45, and three-quarters of all suicides in the UK are men. Andy’s Man Club uses the hashtag #itsokaytotalk to encourage men to talk about their mental health issues rather than bottle them up. The ambition is halving the number of suicides in men under 45.
Marking World Mental Health Day, the College is today promoting mental health support for staff and students. The College signposts resources including beneficial wellbeing apps and technology, charity support groups, government initiatives, and information about counsellors, NHS services and mental health nurses, and educational psychologists.
Research shows that people are safer and less at risk when they talk about their personal and social issues. In the UK, 12 men take their lives every day; the male suicide rate is currently three times higher than that of females.
Jubar Miah, Equality, Inclusion & Safeguarding Manager at Leeds College of Building, said: “I am extremely proud we support such an important initiative, which I have no doubt is saving many lives. Today, we’re showing our support of World Mental Health Day and Andy’s Man Club, providing a much-needed safe space for men to talk about the issues that are important to them. This work is extremely valuable because it tackles the stigma around mental health by saying #itsokaytotalk.”
Declan Storey, Facilitator of Leeds Andy’s Man Club, said: “Andy’s Man Club wanted to work alongside the College for a number of important reasons. I am proud to be born in Leeds and love the city. I also work in construction and studied at the College for five years, so it is fantastic to give something back.”
All men over the age of 18 can access support at Leeds College of Building by dropping into Andy’s Man Club, open every Monday, 7-9pm (excluding Bank Holidays), in the library of the North Street Campus.