Local Action Saves Lives goes to Parliament

Samaritans took the campaign Local Action Saves Lives into the heart of Parliament yesterday with Luke Ambler, founder of Andy’s Man Clubs and the #ITSOKAYTOTALK online viral campaign. We met Public Health Minister Nicola Blackwood to raise awareness of the campaign and to get the Government to prioritise effective local suicide prevention. Samaritans is asking people to message their local politicians to make suicide prevention a priority where they live, with every local authority implementing an effective suicide prevention plan.

To mark World Mental Health Day, Luke and his team had walked from Halifax, more than 200 miles away in Yorkshire. On the way Luke and his supporters distributed leaflets and talked to men about seeking help, to raise awareness and reduce stigma about suicide. After the death of his brother in law by suicide in April this year, Luke has campaigned tirelessly for more to be done to prevent suicide.

“I just don’t want any family to go through what we have gone through in the past few months,” he said. “Andy’s death showed that we have to be more open. As men we have to talk, we have to admit when we’re struggling and when things aren’t going well for us.

“Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 50. This is a horrifying statistic, so let’s do everything we can to put an end to it.”

The group delivered a letter to Ms Blackwood and highlighted the need for every local authority to have an effective suicide prevention plan in place. At the moment around a third of local authorities do not have one.

On hearing Luke’s story about his brother in law’s suicide, Ms Blackwood agreed with the need for local suicide prevention plans.

“Communities are where we’re going to be saving lives. You have come to me just as we are refreshing the national strategy on preventing suicide, so we will be sure to take into account this letter and this meeting,” she told us.

Local Action Saves Lives has now reached more than 1 ½ million people online, but we need to go further. Let’s stop suicide taking such a toll of men.

Suicide is everybody’s business and we can all be part of the solution.

Use our email template and tool to contact your councillor. Why not send this link to three of your family and friends and share via Twitter and Facebook? We want to spread the message as far as possible so that more people take action and help reduce the number of people taking their own lives.