Ambler’s grand ambition to stem male suicide

From suffering and tragedy springs hope that other lives can be saved.

Halifax prop forward Luke Ambler wants his campaigns #AndysManClub and #ItsOkToTalk to help cure a pandemic of suicide in young men.

Ambler lost his brotherin-law in April after he committed suicide and has said he aims to break the stigma regarding people talking about their problems.

He told Love Rugby League: “I want to break down the mental health barrier in general, improving people’s general mental health.

“Obviously that’s what #ItsOKtotalk is about, it’s about getting men to talk, women to talk, children to talk getting anyone all over the world to talk, breaking down those barriers.

“There is a lot of stigma about what goes on people’s heads and they need to be broken down in order to improve.”

One way he hopes to help his campaigns is to use his position as a rugby league player to help break down the perception that it’s not manly to talk about problems.

He added: “#AndysManClub is for my brother-in-law who died by suicide back in April and I wanted to create a group where men felt they could talk.

“It’s a massive stigma around men talking and I thought I could break those barriers down using my job being in a macho man sport, rugby. We can use that to break barriers down.”

Ambler’s #ItsOKToTalk campaign has gone global very quickly, with the likes of comedian Ricky Gervais and rugby league legend Paul Gallen showing their support.

“Yeah, I can’t get over how quickly it went viral,” Ambler admitted.

“It’s been staggering really. I didn’t even think it would go out of Halifax let alone the rugby world.

“We’ve had people like Ricky Gervais and people like that doing it and Olympic Stars and it’s still going.

“If you look on Facebook or Twitter and look for #ItsOKToTalk you can see the latest. I’ve just checked and it’s gone as far as New South Wales.

“People all over the world are buying into this; it just shows how much of a world pandemic we have of suicide in young men.”

In the UK suicide is the biggest killer of men under the age of 45, while 76% of suicides are male.

Ambler is looking to collaborate with people once the organisations are a bit more set up.

He said: “We have had a lot of people approach us, so we are going to find out who matches our values and we’re going to link those people into our services for when our group is out there.

“And we have a lot of stuff we are doing in house like a lot of video content. We are pushing people to talk, but we also want to give people information on key issues like child access and debt management.

“So we are trying to get that information out there via our YouTube channel, so we are going to put a little video team together and get information out to the masses.

“We need to get the messages out there like #itsOkToTalk.”

 Ambler ended by giving a message to anyone struggling with suicidal thoughts.

“Reach out,” he said.

“It’s OK to talk. There’s no burden, the only burden that’s going to come is if you actually go through with what you’re thinking about doing.

“That is where the weakness will come from and that’s what your family will have to go through.

“I know you have a lot of stuff going on but do reach out, there is help out there.

“Nothing in this world is bad enough for you to do that. You can get through anything and we will help you do that.”

To get involved or to get some help, follow ANDYS MAN CLUB on Twitter here and on Facebook here.

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