TV's top cop teams up with Calderdale mental health advocate
Monday 14 December, 12pm (streamed live via Facebook)
With the prospect of a long winter and tier 3 lockdown rules still in play for some areas, Luke Ambler, the founder of Andy's Man Club - a national leading mental health charity - has joined forces with TV police interceptor Ben Pearson to help raise awareness of men's mental health with an open and honest live conversation on Monday 14 December at 12pm.
Ambler and Pearson will be in a socially distant setting at the Andy's Man Club headquarters at Croft Myl in Halifax. The conversation will be streamed live online (for free) to the club's 69,000 Facebook page subscribers. The recording will remain online for the foreseeable to help men and their loved ones to spot the signs and seek help.
According to the Samaritans, more than 6,000 people across the UK and Republic of Ireland taking their own lives each year, with tens of thousands more attempt suicide. Suicide is more common among some groups than others. For example, it is more likely among men than women, and in particular men in their 40s and 50s from a lower socio-economic group. Suicides are preventable with timely, evidence-based interventions.
The former Ireland international and Leeds Rhinos rugby player Luke Ambler set up Andy's Man Club - a motion in men’s mental health, sparked by the loss of his brother-in-law. The first Andy's Man Club meeting in Halifax, West Yorkshire started with nine men, then 15 the week after. The club now run weekly drop-in sessions on Mondays (moved online as well as in person socially distancing during covid-19) and have 36 clubs nationwide.
Founder of Andy's Man Club, Luke Ambler said: "It takes true courage for a tough man to admit when he’s down. We receive hundreds of messages each month saying we have saved a life, and that's what it’s for, so that another family doesn’t have to bury their son. I'm looking forward to meeting and chatting to Ben Pearson and hope together we can help others out there who are also struggling and need to hear they are not alone."
Bradford born; Benjamin Pearson always dreamed of joining the police to help others. He joined West Yorkshire Police, his local force in 2001 aged 25. He began his career out on patrol and as a tutor constable training new officers before joining the special operational and Roads Policing Unit. Pearson, a familiar face on Channel 5’s popular TV series Police Interceptors, dedicated 19 years to serving and protecting the public, his community, before he was forced to give it all up and retire in October 2020 due to ill health, a suicide attempt, multiple cries for help, and being diagnosed with work-related PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).
Now aged 44, Pearson still has that same dream of helping others, however this chapter involves Ben exchanging his baton for a pen and taking up a new role out of the uniform that was his identity for almost two decades. Ben is now an author, motivational speaker and mental health advocate sharing his life and work experiences – the ups and downs of policing, living with PTSD, and coping with the stigma attached to mental illnesses.
Pearson has been involved in dangerous pursuits, arrested murderers and rapists and high-profile burglars. He’s taken down some of the most violent offenders, bringing them to justice. Unbeknown to Ben, his greatest fight was yet to come. After dealing with a series of heinous, fatal collisions and losing his parents, Ben’s mind became his worst enemy. The in conversation will tell of his fight, not only for his family, his health, and his sanity, but against the system that failed him.
The torment faced by Ben will be told in his own voice, the events real, and the aftermath, life changing. His memories of the incidents leading to diagnosis are as vivid as they are mentally destructive.
Former West Yorkshire Police Traffic Officer Ben Pearson Said: “I hope my story and me being as open as I can reaches men out there to know they are not alone and it's not their fault if they suffer with mental health illnesses as it can happen to any of us. I'm an example of that. I also feel that working with Luke Ambler and Andy's Man Club will help men - those inside and outside of policing, and their families (and employers) to spot the signs and seek help before it's too late."
During his career, Ben received 8 commendations for bravery and outstanding police work and 2 judges' commendations for high profile arrested and conviction of a murder. He was part of the police family and did a job like no other.
Ben lives with his loving partner Milly, a serving police officer, and two beautiful children aged 4 and 6. The book is dedicated to Ben’s family and friends who, despite missing out on important milestones and celebrations over the years due to his passion and commitment for the job, have always loved, supported and stood by him.
You can purchase Ben Pearson's book 'Handcuffed Emotions - A Police Interceptors Drive into Darkness' via Amazon.