2023-07-26 18:32

Baton Of Hope Suicide Prevention Tour BeginsMen


What Sky News is reporting as the UK's biggest initiative on suicide, began today 25th June in Glasgow and features runners holding a specially designed Olympic-style torch, with the aim of carrying it across the UK to raise public awareness to biggest preventable killer of adults under 35 in this land.

The Suicide prevention tour is supported with runners made up of survivors and bereaved family members.

In order to help publicise the event and ensure media coverage, often ignored unless celebrities are involved, people such as Fatboy Slim, Chris Boardman and Will Vaulks are among the stars backing this event.

Starting in Glasgow, the tour takes in Edinburgh, Newcastle, Sheffield, Manchester, Belfast, Bristol, Cardiff, Birmingham, Milton Keynes, Brighton and ends in London on 6th July.

The full itinerary can be viewed on the Baton Of Hope website by clicking on the image below.

image: Baton Of Hope - clcik to enter the website

Writing on the website, the story of how the idea of a Baton and tour of the UK came about as a result of the two bereaved fathers making contact and wanting to make a difference; working together to established the campaign.

Mike McCarthy and Steve Phillip made contact following the deaths of their sons, Ross and Jordan, to suicide. Steve said:

“We were brought together through tragic circumstances – two fathers sharing common grief.  Each wanting to make a difference, and determined that the death of our sons should not be in vain.  Through our friendship, we recognised that by creating unity of purpose we could shake things up and create a movement that we hope will stop so many people taking their own lives.”

image: the baton - click to leaarn more about itTogether Mike and Steve became persuasive advocates for change in UK suicide prevention policy; they were invited to meet the Rt. Hon. Sajid Javid MP, then Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, to share their knowledge and lived experience. In a keynote speech at the headquarters of the suicide prevention charity PAPYRUS in June 2022, Mr Javid talked about the importance of providing better and more targeted support to men and women who are dying by suicide:

‘September 2022 marks a decade since the publication of the National Suicide Prevention Strategy for England, which contained a series of actions and commitments to save lives. Across the sector, progress has been made in the last decade. However, society has also changed in significant ways – bringing new challenges, drivers and risks that we need to tackle. We believe now is the time for us to develop a new and ambitious long-term plan for suicide prevention.’

As well as briefing him on the vital actions needed from across Government – especially, but not just, the Department for Health and Social Care – Mike and Steve were also able to secure Mr Javid’s endorsement and support for their Baton of Hope campaign which was announced on BBC Breakfast the following day.

The website also features stories of those who have lost people to suicide and the work they are doing in trying to help prevent the numerous deaths by suicide which, since covid, seems to have reached epidemic levels.

With regard to the Baton itself, the website explains:

The Baton of Hope is unprecedented – it is, as its founders intended, fast becoming the UK’s largest ever suicide prevention initiative. As such, it deserves an iconic device that can serve as a unifying symbol for the campaign. We need something that represents the desperately serious and highly-charged subject of suicide, while at the same time promoting the ocean of hope and optimism at the heart of the mission.

You can read further about its design and the metals making it up by clicking on the image above right.


Designed & Content: Mark Holt Jamie McGovern

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