NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is supporting World Suicide Prevention Day (Monday 10 September 2018) by reminding people that it’s okay to seek help and by encouraging others to look out for those who might be feeling low, distressed or alone.
Statistics show that on average, more than 6,000 people die by suicide each year, and tens of thousands attempt suicide. In Leeds alone, from 2011-2013 over 213 deaths were attributed to suicide and 141 (82.6%) of those were men. Risk factors for suicide in Leeds include social isolation, unemployment and debt.
Suicide has devastating consequences for friends and families, something that Luke Ambler, founder of Andys Man Club, knows too well. Former Halifax rugby star Luke founded the club after his brother-in-law Andy died by suicide. There are now over 15 clubs across the UK, including in Leeds, where men can support each other with their mental health.
“Our family were devastated when we lost Andy and we still are. He was the inspiration for setting up the club, so that no one ever has to go through what we have. We have over 20 men a week attend our club in Leeds. It’s a safe space where men come together and speak openly with each other.”
Luke thinks the most important message for people is to know that it’s okay to talk. He said:
“Men are told that girls cry and boys don’t, and they’ve believed this for a long time but it’s the cause of a lot of problems. Men need to know that it’s okay to talk, so they don’t bottle up that emotion until it erupts.”
Explaining the success of the group, Luke said:
“Peer to peer support means men come together and share their experiences. It doesn’t matter if you’re shy because if you don’t want to speak you don’t have to. Simply listening to what other people go through really helps put things in perspective. You can sit and think ‘I’m going through that’ and there’s nothing more powerful.”
Gwyn Elias, GP and Mental Health Clinical Lead at NHS Leeds CCG said:
“I wholeheartedly support World Suicide Prevention Day and completely agree with Luke: it’s so important to know that it’s okay to talk, to reach out, and to understand that help is available if you or someone you know feels low, distressed or alone. It’s important to know that speaking to a family member or friend about how you’re feeling can make a huge difference.”
If you or someone you know needs support, here are some of the resources available in Leeds.
- Andys Man Club in Leeds meets at 7pm every Monday at the Leeds College of Building. For more information about the group search ‘Andys Man Club Leeds’ on Facebook or visit www.andysmanclub.co.uk. If someone would like to attend a group they can just turn up at any of the venues on a Monday (except bank holidays) at 7pm.
- MindWell (www.mindwell-leeds.org.uk) is a website which provides information on local services, including finding practical help, for those who are struggling or feel unable to cope.
- Mindmate (www.mindmate.org.uk) has information about mental health support for children, young people, and their carers.
- The Leeds Survivor-Led Crisis Service provides the Connect helpline on 0808 800 1212 which provides emotional listening support and is open every night 6pm – 2am.
- You can also call the Leeds Samaritans helpline on 0113 245 6789 (local call charges apply) or 116 123 (this number is free to call). The service is available 24/7 every day of the year.
- If your life or someone else’s life is immediate danger, dial 999.