BHT Sussex offered its support to the nationwide Baton of Hope relay and subsequent Evening of Hope at the Brighton Dome on Wednesday night. The Baton of Hope initiative is the UK’s biggest suicide prevention campaign, aiming to raise awareness and open conversations about suicide and suicide prevention.
The baton set off from Glasgow in June and arrived in Brighton on Wednesday, finishing at Downing Street on Thursday. Joan Riddell, BHT Sussex’s HR Manager, was one of Brighton’s baton carriers, and had this to say about the experience:
I was delighted and honoured to have been part of the Baton of Hope suicide prevention initiative in Brighton – the city did us proud. The crowd were so welcoming and supportive. It was an emotional experience, not only for me but for those in the group, we all lost relatives or friends through suicide.
The day finished off with an Evening of Hope with some sobering reflections and brilliant entertainment. There were 91 Baton Bearers selected for Brighton and all of them turned up for their role.
Thank you to those from BHT Sussex who attended and supported the event, that added the extra sparkle for me.”
Following the baton’s journey through Brighton was An Evening of Hope at the Brighton Dome – a fantastic night of speakers, artists, poets, musicians and dancers. Our very own Choir with No Name performed, as well as Matilda Van Orden, ESP Coordinator and May Abushama, Mental Health Recovery Worker, who performed as part of BLKDiamonDance.
We also had a table set up in the Dome’s lobby with other charities and organisations to initiate conversations surrounding suicide prevention and specifically the mental health projects BHT Sussex runs.
If you need support with your mental health, you can self-refer to our Pathfinder service in Mid Sussex and Crawley.
Whatever you’re going through, Samaritans provide 24-hour support, 365 days a year. Call 116 123 for free.
If you’re having thoughts about suicide, or you’re concerned about someone else, you can download Grassroot free Stay Alive app.
If you’re experiencing mental health difficulties, you can call the Sussex Mental Healthline on 0800 0309 500
If you live in Sussex and you’ve been affected by suicide, however long ago, you can contact the Sussex Suicide Bereavement Support Service. Call 07376616628 or email firstname.lastname@example.org at any time.
How to talk about suicide safely
Talking about suicide is an important way to break down stigma, but the topic must be discussed safely and responsibly in a way that avoids causing unintentional harm.
The Samaritans have produced an excellent resource which summarises how to talk about suicide safely online. It focuses on things that are posted on social media and in chats with friends, but the advice can be applied to other conversations around suicide too.