Published Tuesday 11 September 2018 at 10:31
Crowds gathered outside Blackburn Town Hall for a public vigil to mark World Suicide Prevention Day on Monday, September 10.
Working with the Blackburn with Darwen Suicide Prevention Strategy Group and key local partner organisations, the vigil kick started a year-long programme of events, activities, training opportunities and suicide awareness raising in the borough.
This includes the Council joining forces with a national alliance that is aiming to eradicate suicide in the UK as part of its drive on suicide prevention.
The Zero Suicide Alliance’s coalition of like-minded partners are working together to help rid the UK of suicide by initially raising awareness of a free online suicide prevention training programme.
The main part of the vigil saw a 40 seconds’ silence held at 11.40am to signify the fact that in their ‘eleventh hour’ one person dies of suicide around the world every 40 seconds.
As well as the 40 seconds’ silence, there were speeches from invited dignitaries including Tony Harrison – a tireless local advocate for suicide prevention who lost his only child, Vicky, to suicide in 2010. Local musician Nathan Sturgess closed out the vigil on an uplifting note with a cover of ‘Lean on Me’ by Bill Withers.
The event was also used as a chance to signpost to support services and explain how people can take action to support people at risk of suicide.
Information on all the services signposted throughout the day has been gathered here.
In the UK suicide is the leading cause of death of young people under 35 and the leading cause of death of men under 45. In Blackburn with Darwen, 33 men and 13 women killed themselves between 2014/16.
Suicide prevention has been chosen as one of Blackburn with Darwen Council’s key corporate campaigns to support this year given the growing awareness of this vitally important issue both locally and nationally.
The Council is also promoting a Darwen screening of a new film which deals with the subject of suicide and depression.