Somerset Council’s ‘Walk for a Life’ event, aimed at raising awareness of suicide prevention, returns for a second year on Saturday 9 September.
This year’s walk starts at Castle House at the Museum of Somerset at 10:30am, and features a walk-through Taunton’s Town Centre, passing through meaningful locations to commemorate those impacted by suicide within the County.
The event, which was attended by more than 65 people last year, has been organised by Somerset Council’s Public Health team in partnership with various organisations across the county. Following World Suicide Prevention Day (10 September), this year’s event focuses on the theme of ‘Creating Hope Through Action’ to address the critical issue of suicide prevention and provide support to those affected.
Cllr Adam Dance, Lead Member for Public Health, Equalities, and Diversity at Somerset Council said:
I want to encourage everyone to come and join the Walk for a Life event on Saturday 9 September, and be part of a united effort to raise awareness, show support, and create hope for a brighter future for all in Somerset.
Our actions, no matter how big or small, can provide hope to someone who is struggling. By coming together for the Walk for a Life event, we can support each other and contribute to suicide prevention in our community.
Andrew Keefe, Deputy Director of Commissioning for Mental Health at NHS Somerset added:
I commend the efforts of the Walk for a Life event in addressing the crucial issue of suicide prevention. By coming together as a community, we strengthen our commitment to supporting individuals in distress by promoting emotional and mental well-being for all, including those who have experienced loss due to suicide. This event serves as a reminder that reaching out for help is a sign of strength, and there is a network of support available to those in need.
Participants are encouraged to download a free back sign from the Walk for a Life website, which they can personalise in remembrance of a loved one or collect a sign on the day.
Following the walk, participants are invited to return to Castle House at the Museum of Somerset where there will be refreshments provided and local organisations will be on hand to chat about their services and provide support. Somerset Council will also be promoting their ‘Orange Button’ scheme, a community-based suicide awareness initiative. Trained individuals wearing the Orange Button can help signpost those in need to relevant local services, providing crucial assistance to those seeking support.
Members of the public are invited to share their inspiring quotes, lyrics, or poems that have helped them during challenging times in their lives. These will be published in a ‘Book of Hope’ prior to the event. Contributions can be sent to email@example.com, using the subject ‘Book of Hope’ or shared on social media using the hashtag #SomersetBookofHope.
Support for those dealing with mental health challenges or suicidal thoughts is readily available through organisations like Open Mental Health. To explore various support options, visit www.openmentalhealth.org.uk