NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is supporting World Suicide Prevention Day (10 September) by reminding people that it’s okay to seek help and by encouraging others to look out for those who might be feeling low, distressed or alone.
Statistics show that on average, more than 6,000 people die by suicide each year, and tens of thousands attempt suicide (1). In Leeds alone, from 2011-2013 over 213 deaths were attributed to suicide and 141 (82.6%) of those were men (2). Risk factors for suicide in Leeds include social isolation, unemployment and debt.
Suicide has devastating consequences for friends and families, something that Luke Ambler, founder of Andys Man Club, knows too well. Former Halifax rugby star Luke founded the club after his brother-in-law Andy died by suicide. There are now over 15 clubs across the UK, including in Leeds, where men can support each other with their mental health.
Luke said: “Our family were devastated when we lost Andy and we still are. He was the inspiration for setting up the club, so that no one ever has to go through what we have. We have over 20 men a week attend our club in Leeds. It’s a safe space where men come together and speak openly with each other.”
Luke thinks the most important message for people is to know that it’s okay to talk. He said: “Men are told that girls cry and boys don’t, and they’ve believed this for a long time but it’s the cause of a lot of problems. Men need to know that it’s okay to talk, so they don’t bottle up that emotion until it erupts.”
Explaining the success of the group, Luke said: “Peer to peer support means men come together and share their experiences. It doesn’t matter if you’re shy because if you don’t want to speak you don’t have to. Simply listening to what other people go through really helps put things in perspective. You can sit and think ‘I’m going through that’ and there’s nothing more powerful.”
Gwyn Elias, GP and Mental Health Clinical Lead at NHS Leeds CCG said: “I wholeheartedly support World Suicide Prevention Day and completely agree with Luke: it’s so important to know that it’s okay to talk, to reach out, and to understand that help is available if you or someone you know feels low, distressed or alone. It’s important to know that speaking to a family member or friend about how you’re feeling can make a huge difference.”
If you or someone you know needs support, here are some of the resources available in Leeds.
- Andys Man Club in Leeds meets at 7pm every Monday at the Leeds College of Building. For more information about the group search ‘Andys Man Club Leeds’ on Facebook or visit www.andysmanclub.co.uk. If someone would like to attend a group they can just turn up at any of the venues on a Monday (except bank holidays) at 7pm.
- MindWell (https://www.mindwell-leeds.org.uk/) is a website which provides information on local services, including finding practical help, for those who are struggling or feel unable to cope.
- Mindmate (https://www.mindmate.org.uk/) has information about mental health support for children, young people, and their carers.
- The Leeds Survivor-Led Crisis Service provides the Connect helpline on 0808 800 1212 which provides emotional listening support and is open every night 6pm – 2am.
- You can also call the Leeds Samaritans helpline on 0113 245 6789 (local call charges apply) or 116 123 (this number is free to call). The service is available 24/7 every day of the year.
- If your life or someone else’s life is in immediate danger, dial 999.
(2) https://www.leeds.gov.uk/phrc/current-awareness/suicide-prevention Leeds Suicide Audit and Leeds Suicide Prevention Action Plan – Summary of Findings.
New funding programme
NHS Leeds CCG are also backing the new funding programme being launched on World Suicide Prevention day to provide community projects backed by Leeds City Council in conjunction with Leeds Community Foundation. More details on the programme and how to apply are at: https://leedscf.org.uk/leeds-mens-suicide-prevention-fund.
Time To Talk
NHS Leeds CCG also supports Time to Change, led by charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, the national mental health campaign aiming to reduce stigma when it comes to talking about mental health. Time To Talk Day will take place on February 7 2019, encouraging everyone to get talking about mental health.
MindMate is a Leeds-based website for young people, their families and the professionals who support them.
MindWell is the mental health website for people in Leeds. Funded by the NHS Leeds CCG, it brings together information from the NHS, Leeds City Council and the third sector into one single ‘go to’ place. MindWell provides quick and easy access to up-to-date information for all adults in Leeds, including GPs, employers and other professionals.
Leeds Survivor-Led Crisis Service
Leeds Survivor-Led Crisis Service (LSLCS) is a mental health charity based in Leeds. They provide out-of-hours support to people in acute mental health crisis with the aim of reducing hospital admissions, A&E visits, and use of statutory crisis services.
Samaritans of Leeds have been offering emotional support to people in the Leeds community for nearly 50 years. Samaritans provide confidential, non-judgemental support 24 hours a day for people who are experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including those which could lead to suicide.
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Issued by the communications team at NHS Leeds CCG. You can contact the team on 0113 84 35528 or 0113 84 35470. Alternatively please email us: firstname.lastname@example.org