Inclusive Companies Workshop I ‘What’s Next’
This engaging 60-minute workshop will focus on topics such as mental wellbeing and breaking down stigmas as well as exploring effective coping techniques & strategies to overcome setbacks.
Luke Ambler here, for those of you who don’t know me I am the co-founder of Men’s Mental Health Charity ANDYSMANCLUB, founder of the BeeYou Journal, MindTribe and the #ItsOkayToTalk campaign, a mental wellbeing speaker and coach and Lifesearch’s happiness ambassador for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week!
My journey into Mental Health started at a very young age having struggled at school after my parents’ divorce and having experienced mental illness at first hand after my mum became ill following a car crash. This gave me a burning desire to really learn what makes people tick, what makes people think and to try to help people who are struggling make positive changes in their lives and ultimately help them to help themselves.
In 2016, I was flying high. I was a professional Rugby League player for my hometown club, Halifax RLFC and I also represented Ireland. All of a sudden, everything changed. After playing a home game I received a phone call from a close family member. Out of the blue, my brother-in-law Andy Roberts had taken his own life. Andy was a normal guy, he had a great group of friends, a beautiful young family and was always the life of the party but unbeknownst to those of us who were close to him he was struggling. So strong was the stigma surrounding his mental health as a man it stopped Andy from speaking out about his issues and ultimately led to him becoming another statistic. After hearing this news, I told Alfie, Andy’s nephew the news, at the time he was only 6 years old and the scream he let out will stick with me forever. As a result, Andy’s Mum Elaine and I decided to make it our mission to try and provide men with a space to talk openly about their mental health in the hope that we can stop families from going through the pain that ours went through. We then created ANDYSMANCLUB, a peer-to-peer support group where men can go get things off their chest and talk about their struggles. What started as 9 men speaking in a small room in Halifax in June 2016 has now transformed into almost 50 clubs nationwide that are attended by around 1,000 men every week.
It has been my mission since to get people talking. I retired from Rugby League in 2017 and started working in Mental Health full-time. The events of the last year have really put things into perspective for a lot of people, some have struggled as a result of circumstances like losing a job or losing close friends and family members whilst other people have used the pandemic as an opportunity to recharge those batteries and realign their priorities. One way of looking at the pandemic is that we are not all in the same boat, but we are all in the same storm in different boats. Studies have shown however that mental health disorders as a whole have increased across all demographics during the pandemic, this has been a time where talking to friends and social interactions have been restricted like never before and I think there’s no coincidence that there has been such a rise in Mental Health problems. It just goes to show how important it is to regularly talk to people and to try and help each other to smile more!
Alongside my roles mentioned above I have a much more challenging and rewarding job every night when I get home. I am a Dad! I think it’s vitally important that we show the next generations just how important it is to keep talking and to be more mindful about mental health disorders and hopefully we can reach a situation in the future where all the stigma is gone and people can be more honest when they are asked how they are by friends! I can’t stress it enough, talking is so important. It has saved countless people and it could have saved our family and ultimately saved Andy. I’m looking forward to spreading the word about talking and what’s next with Inclusive Companies over the coming week!