Published Wednesday 11 September 2019 at 9:00
Around 500 people gathered outside Blackburn Town Hall for a public vigil to mark World Suicide Prevention Day on Tuesday, September 10.
Working with the Blackburn with Darwen Suicide Prevention Strategy Group and key local partner organisations, the vigil was designed to help amplify 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 and local community groups and charities involved in suicide prevention.
Local substance misuse provider CGL also put on an choreographed dance set to Emeli Sandé’s song ‘Shine’ – which closed out the event in an uplifting manner.
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.
Alongside the Council’s other activities for World Suicide Prevention Day, Blackburn with Darwen’s Adult Learning service also offered two workshops for visitors to the town centre.
Taking place at Care Network Hub on Town Hall Street the first workshop offered free temporary henna ‘semicolon’ tattoos.
The semicolon has become synonymous with suicide prevention awareness all over the world, with the punctuation mark representing the idea that an author could’ve ended their sentence with one but chose not to.
People have been tattooing a semi-colon as a reminder of their struggle, victory, survival and support for those battling depression or thoughts of suicide.
The second workshop involved pebble painting. Mindful doodling is a great way to step back from worries. Visitors to the workshop were able to create their own inspirational verse.
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 between 2016/18, 23 men and 14 women took their own life.
Suicide prevention has been one of Blackburn with Darwen Council’s key corporate campaigns to support over the past year given the growing awareness of this vitally important issue both locally and nationally.