Members of the National Suicide Prevention Alliance (NSPA) team up with Andy’s Man Clubs to encourage people to use the help and support that is out there when life feels overwhelming
In the run up to World Suicide Prevention Day, (Sept 10), 70 organisations in England are joining together in a big national push to reduce deaths by suicide.
The organisations, who together form the National Suicide Prevention Alliance (NSPA), are working with Andy’s Man Clubs – a self-help initiative set up by Halifax rugby player Luke Ambler after the suicide of his brother-in-law - to let men all over the country know that ‘It’s okay to talk’ and to get help before problems become overwhelming.
Statistics show that men are three times more likely to take their own lives than women and that suicide is the biggest killer of men under 50 in the UK.
The NSPA works to reduce suicide and improve support for those bereaved or affected by suicide. It is co-chaired by Samaritans and Rethink Mental Illness and its members include a range of charities such as CALM and PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide, as well as organisations such as the British Transport Police, Network Rail, Public Health England and other health bodies.
Throughout this week, members of the NSPA are promoting the #ITSOKAYTOTALK message online and hosting events all over the country. On Thursday 8 September they will be setting up a ‘listening village’ outside Parliament from 10am to 1pm, to give out awareness-raising materials and let passers-by know that ‘It’s okay to talk’.
The activity follows the huge success of an online campaign started by Andy’s Man Clubs founder Luke Ambler in July.
Luke said: “We didn’t know anything was wrong with my brother-in-law, and then he took his own life. I don’t want anyone to go through what we continue to go through, so we’re delighted to be working with the National Suicide Prevention Alliance to get the message that, it’s okay to talk, out to as many men as possible. If you’re struggling to cope, even if you think nobody will understand, take that first step, talk to someone, ring Samaritans, go and see a friend, speak to your GP. Your life matters.”
The online campaign, which started with a selfie of Luke making the OK sign with his hand and telling people about the death of his brother-in -law, with the hashtag #ITSOKAYTOTALK, has reached millions of people around the world. Public figures and celebrities such as comedian Ricky Gervais, former England rugby star Danny Cipriani, Harry Potter actor Matthew Lewis and Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh tweeted their support and their own OK selfies, nominating other online friends to do the same.
Brian Dow, Director of External Affairs at Rethink Mental Illness and co-chair of the NSPA, said:
“The success of the IT’S OK TO TALK campaign showed just how many people have been affected by suicide, how many brothers, sisters, parents and friends are missed. We urgently need to tackle this issue that is still claiming too many lives. There is something we can all do to help prevent it; even a simple conversation, asking how your mate is, can make a big difference.
“Of course this has to be supported by charities, businesses and government, that’s why we formed the National Suicide Prevention Alliance and that’s why we are all coming together today to work to stop suicide.”
Find out more about the #ITSOKAYTOTALK campaign and how the NSPA is joining up with Andy’s Man Clubs working to reduce suicide on the National Suicide Prevention Alliance (NSPA) website here: www.nspa.org.uk/home/our-work/wspd/
For further information, for interview requests or to attend the Listening Village please contact the Samaritans’ Press Office on 020 8394 8300, [email protected]
Notes to editors:
- The Listening Village will be located in paved area of Parliament Square and open to the public and media from 10am to 1pm on Thursday 8 September. There will be a photocall at 12 noon. A range of spokespeople, as well as those affected by suicide, will be available for interview.
- The National Suicide Prevention Alliance (NSPA) is a cross-sector, England-wide coalition committed to reducing the number of suicides in England, and improving support for those bereaved or affected by suicide.
- The co-Chairs of the NSPA are Samaritans CEO Ruth Sutherland and Brian Dow, Director of External Affairs, Rethink Mental Illness
- There are nearly 70 organisations who are members of the NSPA, from the public, private and voluntary sectors, who are committed to working towards reducing suicide and providing support for people bereaved or affected by suicide. For a full list of members see www.nspa.org.uk
- The NSPA is run by a Steering Group including the Department of Health, East Midlands Suicide Prevention Network, Farming Community Network, Grassroots Suicide Prevention, Harmless and the Tomorrow Project, Leeds Suicide Bereavement Service, Men’s Minds Matter, Network Rail, Public Health England, Rethink Mental Illness, Royal College of Nursing, Samaritans, and The Matthew Elvidge Trust. The NSPA is part-funded by the Department of Health.
- 4,882 people took their own lives in England in 2014, the latest year for which figures are available. The World Health Organisation estimates that more than 800,000 people die by suicide each year globally.
- World Suicide Prevention Day falls on September 10 every year. This year the theme is ‘Connect, Communicate, Care’. For more information, visit www.iasp.info/wspd