Andy's Man Club is held at the College

Posted on 18 May 2018

Leeds College Becomes First in UK to Host Suicide-Prevention Support Group

This week, during National Mental Health Awareness Week (14-20 May 2018), Leeds College of Building is officially launching a new partnership with the male suicide-prevention organisation, Andy’s Man Club. This is the first College in the UK to host the support group.

The Leeds College of Building North Street Campus is now a venue for weekly drop-in support sessions run by the group, open to 18+ male students, staff, and the public. Andy’s Man Club has the ambition of halving the number of suicides in men under 45.

Andy’s Man Club was launched by Luke Ambler, a former International Rugby League player, in 2016. Two years ago, 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’ - a safe space for men in crisis to open up to others in a similar situation.

The Leeds College of Building North Street Campus is now a venue for weekly drop-in support sessions run by the group, open to 18+ male students, staff, and the public. Andy’s Man Club has the ambition of halving the number of suicides in men under 45.

Research shows that people are safer and less at risk when they talk about important, personal and social issues. In the UK, suicide is the number one killer of men under the age of 45, with 12 men taking their lives every day. The male suicide rate is currently three times higher than that of females.

Run exclusively by unpaid volunteers, the talking group aims to provide a place for men to come together as a group in a safe, non-judgmental environment to talk about their issues. Those in similar situations can use the sessions to help each other on a peer-to-peer basis and share advice on how they have dealt with similar situations. The Club helps encourage men to talk and start to focus in on positive strategies to move forward.

Ian Billyard, CEO & Principal at Leeds College of Building, said:  

“Andy’s Man Club provides 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. Members of the College’s Safeguarding Team and Andy’s Man Club have done a tremendous amount of work to help create this safe space to talk at Leeds College of Building. I am extremely proud to support such an important initiative, which I have no doubt will save many lives.”  

Charlotte Duffy, Leeds College of Building Safeguarding Officer, said:

“I work with men every day who are facing struggles and worried about asking for support.  My involvement has given me more understanding around the importance of giving men a safe space to talk about what they are currently experiencing and helping them realise they are not alone and others can help advise and guide them. The construction industry has one of the highest rates of suicide and offering someone a space for them to talk could potentially save lives. I am very pleased to be working together with Andy’s Man Club to achieve this.” 

Declan Storey, Facilitator of Leeds Andy’s Man Club, said:

“AMC wanted to work alongside the College for a number of important reasons. I am proud to be born in Leeds and love the city. This is an ideal chance to combine my passion for mental health and help the city I grew up in. I also work in construction and studied at the college for five years, so it is  fantastic to give something back to the College and help the students that are currently attending now. It’s a great reward for both AMC and the College to have current students using the group.”

The College campus is the 16th national location to host the suicide-prevention support group. Luke has already visited the College during ‘Healthy College Week’ and ‘Leeds Safeguarding Week’ to speak to students and staff about the importance of breaking down the barriers around mental health and reducing deaths by suicide.

All men over the age of 18 can access support at the College by dropping into Andy’s Man Club, open every Monday, 7-9pm (excluding Bank Holidays), in the library of the Leeds College of Building North Street Campus.

For more information, visit: www.andysmanclub.co.uk #ITSOKAYTOTALK