Leeds dad's brave admission about depression on World Suicide Prevention Day

A Leeds dad who has 'turned his life around' thanks to Andy's Man Club has spoken of his battle with mental health issues to mark World Suicide Prevention Day - and said 'depression does not care if you are the tough man'.

Thursday, 10th September 2020, 5:00 pm
Paul Strafford

Andy’s Man Club is a mental health group aimed to ‘get men talking’.

It has helped save the lives of more than 800 men across the country since it was set up.

The club was formed in early 2016 by Halifax rugby league player Luke Ambler after his brother-in-law took his own life.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Paul Strafford

Since then, the group has expanded across the country and now has hundreds of men who attend every week.

Read More

Read More
World Suicide Prevention Day: Here's who you can contact if you are struggling

Paul Strafford, 30, started going to the Leeds meeting of mental health support group Andy's Man Club following a marriage break up.

Within eight weeks, Paul said he had fully opened up and shared his problems and started what he deemed was his recovery.

He has now been attending the group for two years and become a facilitator - helping others to speak out on their problems on a weekly basis.

Paul said his mind set has been completely changed since he started going to the group.

Bravely speaking to the Yorkshire Evening Post, he urged Leeds residents to talk to each other about anything they are having issues with.

Paul said: "I've been attending Andy's Man Club now for two years and started helping to facilitate just before lockdown was imposed.

"The biggest change I've seen in my life is that I've got more of a positive mind set.

"If you have goals, don't let any one hold you back especially your self.

"After seeing the office for national statistics data the other day that Yorkshire is above the national average for male suicide, I am urging people to reach out.

"If that is to a friend, your doctors. a family member or get in touch with Andy's, any way you can.

"It really does help some people if they can talk and get it off their chest."

World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) provides the opportunity for people, across the globe, to raise awareness of suicide and suicide prevention.Every year, suicide is among the top 20 leading causes of death globally for people of all ages.

It is responsible for over 800,000 deaths, which equates to one suicide every 40 seconds.

For each suicide approximately 135 people suffer intense grief or are otherwise affected, according to the International Association for Suicide Prevention.

Paul said lockdown had been 'tough' for the men at the group.

He added: "We miss the social side of the group but the online group has worked just as well for some.

"The strength of the group has helped get the lads through.

"The biggest thing I've learnt is that depression and anxiety don't care if you are the tough man.

"It affects everyone the same and it is not weak to speak out or to open up to any one.

"This is the bravest and biggest step you'll take in the battle against it.

"Some think it will make them weak by opening up about their feelings, too many people still try and hide behind a mask rather then speaking out."

The Leeds branch of Andy’s Man Club meets weekly on a Monday night at Leeds College of Building at 7pm apart from bank holidays - however the groups have moved online since lockdown.

For more information email [email protected]

The Samaritans can be contacted free at any time of day or night, call 116123 or email [email protected], or click here to visit the website.

A message from the Editor: Leeds has a fantastic story to tell - and the Yorkshire Evening Post has been rooted firmly at the heart of telling the stories of our city since 1890. We believe in ourselves and hope you believe in us too. We need your support to help ensure we can continue to be at the heart of life in Leeds. Subscribe to our website and enjoy unlimited access to local news and information online and on our app. With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Click here to subscribe. For more details on our newspaper subscription offers click here.

Thank you

Laura Collins