Southern Health has teamed up with Creative Options, a Southampton-based peer-led mental health support group, to organise a ‘Walk of Hope’ to mark World Suicide Prevention Day next week.
The Walk of Hope will take place on Tuesday 11 September and invites people to symbolically walk from darkness into the light just before dawn at 6.00am. The idea is inspired by a similar walk in Ireland and anyone whose lives have been affected by suicide are welcome to meet outside the Hawthorns Café where the group will walk a section of the park run route towards the early dawn.
Brendan O’Reilly, Southern Health’s manager of the local community mental health team and ‘early intervention in psychosis’ service, explained: “In England, one person dies every two hours as a result of suicide. However, we can all make a contribution topreventing suicide. On this walk of hope, everyone is welcome - whether you want to walk for those who have struggled with mental ill-health, abuse, domestic violence or other difficulties in life. Or you yourself are a survivor of a suicide attempt. Or you may wish to walk to remember someone no longer with us. Whatever your reason, come and walk with us to celebrate community, survival and hope.”
Specially designed t-shirts, designed by a member of the Creative Options group, are available to purchase at firstname.lastname@example.org or by emailing Frances Heather at email@example.com. Hot refreshments will be available by kind arrangement of Hawthorns Cafe (£4 for a bacon/veggie sandwich and a drink – free for the first 30 people who sign up to join the walk: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/walk-of-hope-from-darkness-into-the-light-tickets-49534691596).
The Walk of Hope event is just one of several events taking place as part of the ‘Hampshire Festival of the Mind' from 6 - 14 September (in collaboration with other local groups and funded by the Big Lottery ‘Awards for All’). The other main event is ‘Keeping the Hope’ on Monday 10 September at the Central Baptist Church on Devonshire Road, Southampton. Here you can find out information, view exhibitions, take part in activities and workshops,and hear inspiring stories of hope. The aim is to raise the awareness of issues around suicide, reduce stigma, encourage people to seek help before reaching crisis point, and ensure appropriate support and services are available.