The work being done by #ANDYSMANCLUB to support men’s mental health is just amazing, and we’re very proud to be able to play a part in helping them to achieve their aim of reducing the male suicide rate in the UK. Our partnership with #ANDYSMANCLUB sees a collection of mental health themed cards go live on our hallmark.co.uk website this week. We caught up with Luke Ambler, Co-founder and Chair of #ANDYSMANCLUB to find out more about the great work they’re doing.
#ANDYSMANCLUB - Q&A with Luke Ambler
We’re collaborating with #ANDYSMANCLUB to help raise awareness of mental health issues among men
What was the motivation behind #ANDYSMANCLUB?
The main motivation behind starting #ANDYSMANCLUB was the death of my brother-in-law Andy Roberts. The motivation came after we had to deliver the news to my little boy Alfie, Andy’s nephew when he was only 6 years old. Alfie was absolutely heartbroken and the devastation that Andy’s death brought to the family. From that moment on I wanted to try and stop as many families from going through what we went through and just find that one man and stop him from bottling things up and not talking. #ANDYSMANCLUB was just a simple idea really to try get more men talking, promote the fact that it is okay to talk and hopefully help men stick around and keep going.
Can you tell us something about the clubs and what meetings consist of?
Meetings at #ANDYSMANCLUB are pretty special because of what goes on in the room. From the outside looking in the concept is really basic, it is just groups of guys getting together from all different walks of life and backgrounds, having a brew sitting down and having a chat. We ask a series of 5 questions with questions 4 and 5 changing from week-to-week and it’s just about encouraging guys to talk about how their week has been, whether they’ve got anything they need to get off their chests and ultimately all we’re trying to do with these groups and questions is deliver hope and hope in its basic form is thinking that tomorrow can be better than today. Losing hope is probably the biggest killer of men and women who sadly chose to take their own lives. If we can give men hope, they will hopefully stick around for another day at least.
What responses/feedback do you get from the men joining these groups?
The feedback we receive is astounding and keeps us motivated to keep delivering our sessions and keep expanding our service to new men. We’ve had guys saying the group has saved their lives but what is truly beautiful is when you see a father who has been at a group who has been in a dark place dropping his kid off at school or when you hear from a wife who says that our group has helped her husband stay alive. It is special knowing that you’ve helped save a family and those types of messages from families really take us back and make us motivated to continue growing.
You started #ANDYSMANCLUB in 2016, is the journey from then to now all you hoped it would be?
Coming up to 5 years ago we started this journey and where we are at now is far from what I envisaged. My goal when we started was to have 10 clubs within 5 years and hopefully one in a different country, such as Scotland or Wales, upon reflection that goal at the time seemed daunting. It is enough of a challenge to get one man talking but to say that we have reached almost 50 groups 5 years later and to say we are partnering with a company with the stature of Hallmark is mind-blowing. It is a far cry from what we envisaged when we started but I still think we haven’t scratched the surface. We are always aware that we still have a job to do and that there will be at least one man somewhere in the UK at any given time who needs help and support and this is what keeps us motivated to open more groups, keep men talking and ultimately help more men and more families.
What do you do to look after your own mental health?
I’m super disciplined when it comes to my own mental health, a strong morning routine is massively important to me as it sets me up for the rest of the day. I start every morning with a cold shower and a coffee before the kids get up, I do some journaling and then I listen to something that I like, at the moment I’ve been listening to Kygo which always picks me up. Throughout the day I make sure I take part in some exercise or movement and continue to journal using my BeeYou journal just to get my goals in order and also get a handle on what it is I’m grateful for at that moment in time, remembering what you’re grateful for on a morning is super important for me as it lifts the spirits and helps deliver hope. The final thing I do on an evening is go to the gym, the gym I go to has a pool and jacuzzi and I like to reflect whilst either in the pool, jacuzzi or even in a hot bath. This helps me deal with anything that’s going on and give myself perspective. Perspective is a huge thing for me, when I’m going through something I find that it helps me take a step away from a situation, think clearly and then deal with it with strength and head-on. Discipline is key!
You can shop our full card collaboration with #ANDYSMANCLUB here. Andy's Man Club are a Registered Charity in England and Wales (1179647). Hallmark have donated £10,000 to help with their aim of reducing the male suicide rate in the UK and letting men know that it's ok to talk.