LAD Tours UK To Smash Suicide Stigma With Charity In Brother-In-Law's Name
'It's all about that one man' - that one man that needs to be saved. He's someone's son, brother, dad, husband, partner, he might even be you. He was Luke Ambler's brother-in-law, Andy Roberts, and unfortunately, he took his own life 'out of the blue' back in April 2016.
Andy's suicide caused devastation for his entire family, and for the last three years Luke has been campaigning to break down the stigma that surrounds suicide, mental health and men who have been taught not to speak out about their feelings.
The shame is reducing with famous names from sport, music and film coming forward to talk about their own struggles, but with new figures from the Office of National Statistics showing suicide rates rose in the UK for the first time in five years - there's still a long way to go.
This is where 'Andy's Man Club' comes in.
Luke, 29, set up the charity in brother-in-law Andy's name and this weekend a group of volunteers travelled the country on two tour buses (one of which was last used by Beyoncé and Jay-Z) to spread the message to as many men as they could ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day.
Luke told LADbible: "We were going to rent some camper vans but the demand of our lads was too great to rent camper vans so we found sleeper buses.
"We stopped at towns and cities all over the UK and we gave out 60,000 leaflets, 10,000 wristbands, over 600 t-shirts and we just got men talking on the street.
"We had a guy in Dewsbury come up and say: 'I am that one man', I said: 'Oh are you the one man who has been through the door already?' He said: 'No, no, I'm that one man that's going to be there Monday - thank you'.
"Obviously we found a lot more than one guy but we kept finding that 'one guy' who said 'I need this in my life'."
Luke went on: "Wives were coming over crying, hugging you and telling you: 'Thank you, your club saved my husband's life'. That's a pinch yourself moment; it's a goose bump moment. One guy came up and said: 'I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for this club'. Another said: 'Andy's Man Club saved my life'. The amount of people that said that was phenomenal because that's why we started it.
"We want to save thousands because and in turn that will stop thousands and thousands of families like ours going through the pain we've experienced.
"That continues to drive us, every time we hear of another suicide it drives us even harder to work and stop other men. Leading a movement like this, as hard as it is at times it's just as beautiful and this weekend, the beauty of the weekend outweighed anything that's ever been hard."
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Remembering one person from their hectic weekend, dad-of-two Luke said: "A guy came over and said: 'My wife wants a word with you'. I went over, gave her a cuddle and she said: 'I just wanna say thank you, your club changed my husband's life, it changed our life'.
"I saw the kids run past again and it brought a wave of emotion to me about how Andy's daughter doesn't have that opportunity. That gave me more fire than ever before to smash these stigmas and get more men to our clubs."
Back in 2016 they started with a handful of blokes in Halifax, West Yorkshire, and just last week a record number of 660 men across the country joined the group sessions. Following their tour, Andy's Man Club welcomed 111 new faces last night.
Speaking about the achievement, Luke added: "We set out on the tour to find that one man. That one man who needs help. That one man who needs hope. To see us get the new faces we did has been unreal. It's a bit freaky.
"We're absolutely blown away to see 111 new faces. To say we was finding one man and that was the number is first class. That's 111 men that went home to their families."
Talking about setting up the charity, Luke told LADbible: "When I had to explain to my little six-year-old his favourite uncle had died, the screeching which he let out was like nothing I'd ever heard and it made me realise that no family should ever have to go through that and as a result no man should have to go through this again.
"When you're in the depths of despair, when you've got those suicidal thoughts, when you think that there's no other way out and you see that person come and they look rock bottom, they can't lift their head up.
"Then two weeks later that guy is looking at you in the eyes and starting to see in a more positive light. Four weeks later he's starting to help out with the group and another four weeks later he's leading the group and then it turns out he's from a different town so he says can I start this in my town? Then we'll set him up with a group and he's leading it two years later - that's when you know it's working."
You can keep up with the latest news and developments by visiting the Andy's Man Club website, here.
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MIND: 0300 123 3393.
Samaritans: 116 123.
CALM: Outside London 0808 802 5858, inside London 0800 58 58 58.
Featured Image Credit: Facebook/Andys Man Club