Over the next few weeks, a Baton of Hope is touring UK towns and cities.
The Baton of Hope is the biggest suicide awareness and prevention initiative the UK has ever seen. It’s designed to help people open up necessary conversations and prompt appropriate actions.
Everyone is invited to become a virtual baton bearer and play their part in starting these important conversations.
To show your support and upload your photo to become a virtual baton bearer, please go to batonofhopeuk.org. When you share your picture on social media, please use the hashtag #BatonOfHopeUK.
Councillor Karen May, cabinet member for Health and Wellbeing said: “I would encourage everyone to show their support and to upload their picture to the Baton of Hope website. The Baton of Hope is a powerful symbol showing that together we can get better at asking questions, listening, and directing people to the right help.
“We hope this raises awareness and brings people together from across Worcestershire. It’s also a way of acknowledging and marking our respects to the thousands of lives lost each year in the country to suicide.”
Suicide is the biggest killer of men and women under 35 in the UK. This is more than in traffic accidents and more than from cancer.
The baton has been designed by the official gold and silversmiths to King Charles III (and formerly Queen Elizabeth II) and makers of the FA Cup, Thomas Lyte. The top of the baton has been designed around the semi-colon sign which has become an important and increasingly recognised symbol of suicide prevention and support. Its decorative latticework is a host of people holding each other up.
Starting a conversation around suicide isn’t always easy. There’s lots of local help and guidance available on the Suicide Prevention pages of the Now We’re Talking website. Here you can find conversation starters, a step-by-step guide for helping someone in crisis, self-care advice if you are supporting someone suicidal and much more. You can also take a free 20-minute online Suicide Awareness Training course.
If you are struggling to cope, you can call Herefordshire and Worcestershire’s Urgent Mental Health Helpline on 0808 196 9127 or text WOO to 85258 for free, confidential, anonymous text support.