Healthy Young Minds joins community leaders supporting suicide prevention
17th September 2019
On 10 September, we attended the vigil and service in Blackburn for World Suicide Prevention Day. We were invited by Tony Harrison, trustee at PAPYRUS which is focused at preventing youth suicide. Tony lost his daughter, Vicky, to suicide and has worked tirelessly since to break the stigma around suicide, campaign for more information and education around the topic and promote the message, even one suicide is too many.
The service started at Blackburn Cathedral with a moving service from Tony before candles were lit for people bereaved by suicide. Ceremonial shoes representing people who have lost their lives to suicide were then carried from the Cathedral to the vigil at the Town Hall by the Mayor and Leader of the Council in Blackburn with Darwen. We were incredibly grateful to be asked to not only carry a pair of shoes, but to lead the procession with the Mayor and Leader of the Council to the vigil.
At the vigil at the Town Hall, the shoes were placed on the steps of the Town Hall. A great turnout then heard local community groups speak, alongside other councillors, the Mayor and the Leader of the Council. Star of Coronation Street, Peter Gunn (Brian Packham for those who watch!) read a poem too. Peter is a resident of Blackburn with Darwen and has experienced bereavement from suicide. At 11:40, the vigil fell silent for 40 seconds to signify that every 40 seconds around the world, a life is lost to suicide. The vigil ended in high spirits with a flash mob breaking out, unexpectedly!
In Blackburn with Darwen, 46 people lost their lives to suicide in between 2015-17, which was symbolised by the 46 pairs of shoes on the Town Hall steps. The key message throughout the address was simple…
One suicide is too many. But most importantly, every day is World Suicide Prevention Day.