Former Leeds Rhinos player Luke Ambler visited a Leeds high school to raise awareness of mental health issues among boys and young men.
After dealing with his brother-in-law Andrew Robert’s death from suicide in April 2016, Luke decided to quit rugby and helped set up Andy’s Man Club to spread the world about mental health.
Suicide is the number one killer of men under 45 in the UK and men are three times more likely to kill themselves than women.
Luke talked to boys at Allerton Grange School in North Leeds to share his own struggles with mental health and try to encourage them to talk about their own feelings.
He spoke of being an overweight teenager from Halifax who comfort ate in response to bullying to a super-fit international rugby player who went downhill after leaving Leeds Rhinos.
Becky Finch, marketing manager at the school, said: “Our students really engaged with his fast-paced and down to earth delivery, which was interspersed with humour while still conveying the seriousness that is mental ill-health.”
Health support officer Emma Johnson said: “It’s been a fantastic opportunity for our male students to hear first-hand the impact that not talking about mental health can have on individuals and their families. We want all our students to know about the support systems we have in place in school and to practice good habits, like talking to friends or a trusted adult, about their feelings.
“Challenging the stigma around male mental health now will help them in future years to come.”
For more information on Andy’s Man Club, visit www.andysmanclub.co.uk.
**For confidential support, ring the Samaritans on 116123