A Baton of Hope for Hounslow

Hounslow Council is supporting a major national event that aims to raise awareness about suicide prevention.

The Baton Of Hope Tour is currently making its way towards London after starting on a 12-day journey from Glasgow on Sunday, 25 June.

It is planned to be the biggest suicide awareness and prevention initiative the UK has ever seen. The tour aims to open up a conversation about this difficult subject that will ultimately save lives.

The Baton will end its tour at the Houses of Parliament on Thursday, 6 July. To mark this, Hounslow Council has joined forces with Brentford FC Community Sports Trust and West London NHS Wellbeing and Recovery College, to stage a special suicide prevention conference.

The event, at Brentford FC’s Community Stadium Hub, will see health and care professionals, guests and guest speakers discuss a range of issues around suicide, including identifying the signs, the support available to people facing crisis and how we can all play a part in preventing suicide in our borough.

Suicide is the biggest killer of men and women under 35 in the UK.

The Council and its partners will use the event to launch Hounslow’s suicide prevention campaign, using the call to action Just Say Something.

The message from the Council and its partners is a simple one: if you are facing crisis or you know someone who is, do not suffer in silence – #JustSaySomething.
In Hounslow, people who are finding it difficult to cope can contact the Safe Space Helpline.

Hounslow’s Safe Space Helpline offers free and confidential support for anyone who is struggling, experiencing stress or feeling overwhelmed.

The service is for residents who are over 18 and is open from 11am-11pm every day.

The Council is also encouraging residents in our borough to take the Zero Suicide Alliance   Suicide Awareness Training Course.

This free 20-minute online course provides guidance on how to spot the signs that someone is struggling, how to have a conversation with them and how to direct them to the help they need.

Hounslow Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, Public Health and Transformation, Councillor Samia Chaudhary, said: “Preventing suicide in Hounslow is everyone’s responsibility. By working with a spirit of compassion, we can reach out and offer a helping hand to those people in our borough who are facing difficulties.

“We can all spread awareness about the help that is available. We can all be a listening ear to someone we care about. We can all listen without judgement and let someone know that we are there for them.”

Cllr Chaudhary added: “There is so much we can all do to break the stigma surrounding suicide simply by speaking out about our mental health and we can all take time to look after our own mental health and wellbeing a little bit more.

“Above all, whether you are facing crisis or you know someone who is, we can all Just Say Something.”

Emily Donovan, Health and Wellbeing Manager at Brentford FC Community Sports Trust, said: “We’re pleased to be hosting the Suicide; Just Say Something event in partnership with NHS West London Wellbeing and Recovery College, and the London Borough of Hounslow.

“We adopt a holistic approach to health and our work focuses on utilising the power of the Brentford badge to normalise conversations around how we are really feeling.

“This event is an opportunity to improve the understanding of suicide on a local level, spotlight the ongoing support that’s being provided for residents in west London, and to reflect on how we can better support our local community.”

Gail Dearing, Associate Director of Community Mental Health Services at West London NHS Trust, will be one of the baton bearers, carrying the Baton of Hope through the streets of London in one of the final legs of its nationwide journey.

Gail said: I got involved with this crucial campaign for both personal and professional reasons. I lost a friend 10 years ago to suicide and miss her every day. As a Mental Health Social Worker for many years, I have experienced the loss of service users too often and know what supporting their families and friends through that ordeal is like. An important part of my role now is making sure support mechanisms are in place to prevent suicides across our communities in West London. We do this through our local mental health services and developing partnerships to reach more people in need of support.

Suicide prevention is everyones business. We can all look out for each other, spot the signs of mental distress and challenge the stigma associated with seeking support with mental health.”


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