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Video: Ulster rugby star Tommy Bowe on removing the stigma surrounding mental health

Ulster Rugby star Tommy Bowe has encouraged efforts to remove the stigma surrounding mental health and wellbeing.

For the past two years of available statistics, the country has had the highest suicide rate in the United Kingdom - 16.5 people per 100,000 in 2014 - with Bowe now lending his support to the Irish Rugby Union Players' Association's (IRUPA) Tackle Your Feelings drive.

Last night, Tackle Your Feelings held a panel discussion at Ulster's Kingspan Stadium home.

On what inspired him to become involved, Bowe said:Campaigns like Tackle Your Feelings, they're things that some people might take a huge amount from and, whether it's from what people like Hannah or Jack have said, it can be a way to hopefully just give those people a light at the end of the tunnel and show that, no matter what, there's someone else who is going through the same thing."

While the most recent statistics show that Northern Ireland's number of suicides has decreased, Bowe wants to see efforts to remove the stigma surrounding open and frank discussion on issues of mental wellbeing continue. "Maybe people in the north are slower to come forward and discuss things," he said.

"It's a stigma and sometimes people don't want to be discussing their own innermost feelings."

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