A trend on social media shows people raising the “OK” hand symbol. What may seem like any other ordinary selfie is actually a campaign regarding mental health.
Irish rugby player Luke Ambler started the #ItsOkayToTalk hashtag on Twitter after he lost his brother-in-law, Andy, due to suicide. By doing the “OK” hand gesture, he is showing other men that it’s okay to be open about their feelings.
Ambler also challenged other people to take a selfie with the hand gesture and to pass the message along.
Luke Ambler Displaying The “OK” Hand Gesture
— Luke Ambler (@lukeambleruk) July 31, 2016
Ambler then created a Facebook group called, “Andy’s Man Club.” The page offers a safe space for men to start honest conversations with one another without judgement.
His campaign has since gone global, with countless others participating in helping raise awareness of suicide among men.
— Matthew Lewis (@Mattdavelewis) August 5, 2016
— Huddersfield Giants (@Giantsrl) August 5, 2016
— Junior Roqica (@JuniorRoqica) August 19, 2016
— Social Justice UTS (@UTSSocialImpact) August 22, 2016
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. The suicide rate for men is 3.5 times higher than women. With the #ItsOkayToTalk hashtag, Ambler hopes to “bring these numbers down.”
In an interview with the Independent, Ambler made the statement:
Gender roles have to change from how we traditionally thought [of men and women], and showing emotions for men isn’t easy – people think men are the strongest in the family – it’s stronger if you talk about your feelings, and don’t bottle it up – that means more than physical strength.
If someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
Tweet us your pictures with #ItsOkayToTalk at @CelebMix.