In the summer of 2023, a powerful symbol of hope made its way across towns and cities in the UK, culminating in London today. The Baton Of Hope UK initiative aims to ignite a nationwide conversation about suicide awareness and prevention, breaking down barriers, reducing stigma, and encouraging actions that can save lives. This innovative project, supported by Dean Russell MP, promises to be the largest suicide prevention initiative the UK has ever witnessed.
In May 2023, Dean spoke in Parliament about Baton of Hope, and gained a supportive response from the Prime Minister. Following the question in the Chamber, the launch took place in Parliament where MP's from across the political divide attended and had the opportunity to talk to the brilliant team at 'The Baton of Hope' and learn more about the charity. Dean was proud to sponsor this launch.
The Baton of Hope serves as a beacon of light, symbolising our collective commitment to addressing the pressing issue of suicide. This specially designed baton has visited various locations, capturing the attention and engagement of communities throughout the country. It is shining a spotlight on the importance of mental health, prompting conversations about suicide prevention, and encouraging individuals to take appropriate actions when faced with someone in crisis.
One of the primary objectives of the Baton of Hope is to eradicate the stigma surrounding mental health and suicide. By fostering open and honest conversations, we can create a safe space for individuals to share their struggles, seek support, and access the resources they need. Through education and awareness, the aim is to empower communities to recognise the signs of distress, ask the right questions, and direct people towards appropriate help.
Following the Baton arriving in London, and after a message was played from Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Dean said, 'I was delighted to join the final journey to take the Baton of Hope to Downing Street with Mike McCarthy. It was immensely humbling to be given the honour of passing on the baton to the Mental Health Minister, Maria Caulfield MP in No10. This baton has already helped people talk about suicide prevention and it's imperative that the conversation continues. I would like to pay tribute to the inspiring team who made this first year such a success. As I have said before, if suicide were a virus we would be on the hunt for a vaccine, and if loneliness were a disease would we not try to find a cure? Suicide affects so many families across the country. I urge anyone struggling to reach out and get support. It is not a weakness to ask for help and I am hopeful campaigns like Baton of Hope are making it easier to do so.”
Learn more about Baton of Hope - https://batonofhopeuk.org
Photo credit - UK Government