Champs Public Health Collaborative, as members of the National Suicide Prevention Alliance (NSPA), is teaming up with Andy’s Man Clubs to encourage men to reach out for help and support when life feels overwhelming.

In the run-up to World Suicide Prevention Day, (Sept 10), over 70 organisations in England who are joining together in a big national unified push to reduce deaths by suicide, by telling men that ‘it’s okay to talk’.

The initiative comes after an online campaign of the same name reached millions of people globally last month.

TV stars, sportsmen, comedians and public figures all over the world shared pictures of themselves making an OK sign with their hands, alongside the hashtag #ITSOKAYTOTALK.

Now, Champs is working with Halifax rugby player Luke Ambler, who created the campaign and founded the Andy’s Man Club support movement for men, after losing his brother to suicide earlier this year, to push the message out well beyond the internet.

Luke Ambler said: “We didn’t know anything was wrong with Andy, and then he took his own life. I don’t want anyone to go through what we continue to go through, so we’re delighted to be working with the National Suicide Prevention Alliance to get the message out that ‘it’s okay to talk’, to as many men as possible. If you’re struggling to cope, even if you think nobody will understand, take that first step, talk to someone, ring Samaritans, go and see a friend, speak to your GP. Your life matters.”

Statistics show that men are three times more likely to take their own lives than women and that suicide is the biggest killer of men under 50 in the UK.

Sue Forster, Interim Director of Public Health for St Helens Council and Chair of the Cheshire & Merseyside Suicide Prevention Board said: “The success of “#ITSOKAYTOTALK” online shows that suicide affects everybody. Suicide prevention is everyone’s business. We need to make it easier for people to talk through difficult thoughts and feelings, but it’s also important that charities, organisations and agencies work harder and better together to tackle suicide in a unified, organised way. We are pleased with what we have achieved so far with our NO MORE suicide strategy in Cheshire & Merseyside and we are working hard towards our ambition to achieve zero suicide in our region. Together we can save lives.”

Find out more about the #ITSOKAYTOTALK campaign and other charities and bodies working to reduce suicide on the National Suicide Prevention Alliance (NSPA) website here:  www.nspa.org.uk/home/our-work/wspd/

Find out more about the Cheshire & Merseyside zero suicide strategy www.no-more.co.uk