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Everything you need to know about the #ItsOkayToTalk campaign

"Let’s show men all across the world that #ItsOkayToTalk"

By Amy Lewis, 09 August 2016
Everything you need to know about the #ItsOkayToTalk campaign

Photographs are starting to flood social media showing people making the universal hand gesture for ‘OK’, with the hashtag #ItsOkayToTalk. So what’s it all about?

“We want to give men somewhere to go where they feel they can talk.”

Here, we explain the reasons behind the social campaign, how you can get involved, and why it could help families everywhere if you do.

So, first up, what’s it all in aid of? Well, the campaign has been started by new organisation Andy’s Man Club, which was set up by Irish international rugby player Luke Ambler earlier this year.

Andy’s Man Club hopes to raise awareness of the fact that suicide is the biggest killer of men under the age of 45, and that a large part of the problem stems from the fact that many men find it difficult to talk about their struggles.

Luke sadly lost his brother-in-law Andy to suicide in April this year, and has set up Andy’s Man Club, along with the #ItsOkayToTalk campaign, in a bid to help breakdown the barriers which prevent men from discussing their feelings, or seeking help for mental health issues such as depression.

#ItsOkayToTalk has been launched in conjunction with charity Campaign Against Living Miserably (Calm), to encourage men (in particular) to talk more openly about things that may be getting them down.

Anyone can take part - Ricky Gervais, comedian Rob Delaney and First Dates star Fred Sirieix have already done it, along with an impressive lineup of sporting heroes.

All you need to do is snap a selfie making the ‘OK’ hand gesture, and post it along with the hashtag #ItsOkayToTalk and this note:

“The single biggest killer of men aged under 45 is suicide. In 2014, 4623 men took their own life. That’s 12 men every day, one man every 2 hours! 41% of men who contemplated suicide, felt they couldn’t talk about their feelings. Only 20% of the U.K know that suicide is the most likely cause of death for men under 45. Let’s show men all across the world that #ItsOkayToTalk.

“Take a selfie the [OK] sign, tag 5 friends and let’s get the message out that it’s okay to talk. Hopefully together we can bring the numbers down. #AndysManClub”

On the Andy’s Man Club website, Luke explains how he’s setting up coffee meetups for men to help create a safe space where they can come together and seek help, support and advice from each other. A place where they talk through any problems, and unburden themselves.

He believes it’ll help to prevent unnecessary tragic incidents, like the suicide of his brother-in-law, from further impacting men and their families.

“Sadly and tragically without any warning Andrew was taken away from all his family and friends by suicide. What is staggering is that 42% of men aged 18-45 have considered suicide as an option,” writes Luke.

“Around 4200 men, (thats one man every 2 hours), a year are taken from this world and their families by suicide, it is quite unbelievable that their isn't that much awareness. What seems to be a big underlying problem for men is their inability to speak out about what is bothering them.

“We want to give men somewhere to go where they feel they can talk.”

For more information, help or support please visit andysmanclub.co.uk or thecalmzone.net.