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‘Walk for a Life’ this Suicide Prevention Day

Join ‘Walk for a Life’ in Taunton to help raise awareness of suicide – or to remember a loved one – this World Suicide Prevention Day (10 September).

Somerset County Council’s Public Health team, together with partners, are helping to raise awareness of suicide in Somerset at a ‘Walk For A Life’ event starting at Stragglers Coffee House, Somerset County Cricket Ground on Saturday 10 September at 10am.

Suicide can affect anybody, and there isn’t a community in Somerset where people haven’t been touched by it.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) data shows 206 people were registered as having died by suicide in Somerset between 2018 and 2020.

With increasing pressure caused by the fallout from the pandemic and the ongoing cost of living crisis, mental health challenges are becoming more serious.

Coming together to tackle suicide

The event aims to raise awareness of suicide in Somerset and is supported by partners including Somerset Foundation Trust, Open Mental Health and Stepladder.

On the day, attendees will walk a route put together by SASP through Taunton’s Town Centre in memory of all those impacted by suicide within the County.

Walkers will be able to download a free back sign where they can dedicate their walk to a loved one. They will then end the walk at the Somerset County Cricket Ground, where several local partners and stakeholders will be on hand to offer information and advice.

Lead Member for Public Health, Equalities and Diversity at Somerset County Council, Cllr Adam Dance said: “World Suicide Prevention Day is a day to raise awareness of how we can help each other and reduce the stigma that surrounds talking about suicide. The theme this year is ‘creating hope through action’ and we want to remind our communities that our actions, no matter how big or small, could provide hope to someone who is struggling.”

What is happening

Various activities will be taking place, including shared reading and craft and students from Somerset Recovery College will be displaying their artwork in an exhibition.

The event will also mark the launch of Somerset County Council’s new ‘Orange Button’ scheme: a community-based suicide awareness scheme. The Orange Button will be worn by people in Somerset who have undergone quality assured Mental Health or Suicide Prevention training: whilst they are not able to counsel people, they can help signpost to relevant local services.

In preparation for the event, Somerset County Council’s Public Health team are asking members of the public to share quotes, lyrics or poems that have helped them to get through difficult times in their lives.

Suicide prevention orange button scheme
The Orange Button scheme has been rolled out in other council areas across the UK

How to get involved

The Council would like people send your contributions to bookofhope@somerset.gov.uk using the subject “Book of Hope”, or tag them in your posts on social media using the hashtag #somersetbookofhope

Where to get help

If you, or someone you know needs support, there are several organisations in Somerset that specialise in support related to suicide and mental health.

Visit www.openmentalhealth.org.uk to discover all the support options that are open to you.

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