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Rugby star delivers talk on mental health

Some of the students at Channelside who were in the ‘What Next’ talk from mental health speaker Luke Ambler

A former international rugby player gave a motivational speech at Furness College this week urging people to open up about their own mental health.

Luke Ambler, gave his ‘What’s Next’ talk to around 400 staff and students at both the Channelside and Rating Lane campuses of the college in Barrow.

Luke, who played rugby for Leeds Rhinos and represented Ireland, said it was his first time in Barrow as a speaker, rather than a rugby player.

He spoke about challenges in his own life including the death of his brother-in-law, which led him to set up the suicide prevention charity Andy’s Man Club and the social media campaign #itsoktotalk.

The 29-year-old said his goal was to tackle the rates of male suicide – which remains the biggest cause of death in men under 45 in this country.

“I am more likely to die from suicide than anything else,” he said. “The thing I would like everyone in this college to take away from today is that when they have a challenge in life that they open up. When they feel like they can’t go forward, they can.”

He encouraged everyone to check on their own mental health, and that of others, to help reach higher levels of success and satisfaction in their lives.

Leanne Hirst, a personal progress coach at Furness College who organized the talk, said: “We are very fortunate to have Luke visiting this week as he has a very busy schedule. Luke’s work has taken him from Huddersfield to Hampshire, prisons up and down the country to meeting royalty in Buckingham Palace.  Without over-exaggerating, Luke is saving the lives of people who are in need of support.”

‘Men’s Group Barrow’ is the area’s local support group offering meet ups, support options and a place to talk. You can find out more information on their Facebook Group:

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