Town centre event promoting Better Mental Health for All

Published Thursday 6 October 2022 at 15:28

Due to the sad news of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the difficult decision was taken to postpone the World Suicide Prevention Day vigils in September in line with other local and national events, as the nation entered a period of mourning.

This has, however given us an opportunity to do something slightly different this year and we now plan to bring together residents and partners around the broader topic of mental health – which includes mental wellbeing, mental health and suicide prevention.

Our vigils, which will now take place on Saturday 8th October in Blackburn and Darwen will still offer the chance for remembrance of people in the borough who have died by suicide and provide support for families who have been affected by the suicide of a loved one. But it will also aim to provide information for residents on how their can improve their mental wellbeing and mental health.

The Council is working with the Blackburn with Darwen Suicide Prevention Strategic Group and key local partner organisations, and the day  will help amplify their work and the support services that are available to residents.

The proceedings will begin at 11am with a vigil outside Blackburn Town Hall featuring a special performance by the drama company Aftathought  who have developed in collaboration with and featuring people with lived experience of suicide, to tell their stories.

The vigil will also include  40 seconds silence to signify that one person dies of suicide around the world every 40 seconds.

At 12pm, mens groups from across the borough will lead a walk from Blackburn Town Centre to Darwen Town Centre where the Darwen vigil will take place. These groups, which include Men in Sheds, Andy’s Man Club, Creative Football and Talk Ourselves Well provide a safe space for men to talk and learn new skills in a safe and supportive environment. Members of the public are welcome to join the group on their walk.

These representatives will then carry a candle to Darwen where a vigil will take place in Darwen Town Hall Square at 2pm.

The vigils will also pay tribute to those in our communities who have completed a Suicide Prevention Course. These members of the community are distinguishable by their Orange Buttons   Orange Button – Every Life Matters (  The Orange Button scheme is a way of showing others in your community who are having thoughts of suicide, or are worried about somebody else, that you are comfortable to say / hear the word suicide, can listen without judgement and you can inform people where to find help and support.

In the lead up to the day, Blackburn with Darwen Council will also be focusing on social media with messages of support and advice, helping reduce the stigma around the mental health and suicide . Links to Mental health and suicide prevention training courses within the borough will also be advertised.

On the day, the digital screen in Blackburn Town Centre will also carry information and graphics for key local mental health and suicide prevention services.

Councillor Quesir Mahmood, Deputy Leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council, said:

One in every 100 deaths worldwide is the result of suicide. Each and every suicide is devastating and has a profound impact on those around them. The work we and our partners are doing is helping to break the stigma around suicide, and helping people to talk more openly about it.

The response to our previous years’ vigils have been excellent and this year’s promises to be even bigger and better with activity in both towns. I would encourage everyone to come down and show we are firmly behind suicide prevention in Blackburn with Darwen.

It is also paramount to talk more openly about mental health issues, as a separate issue but equally important, and I hope anyone who would like to highlight this issue or support someone close to them will come along to one of the vigils and take part.”

Councillor Brian Taylor, an advocate for mental health and suicide prevention, said:

It was incredibly difficult to have to postpone these vigils following the Queen’s death. However, it was felt that it was the right course of action at the time, and we have been working really hard to find a new date so we can honour the loved ones we have lost and try and spread the word and break the stigma around suicide.

These vigils are an opportunity to raise awareness of suicide, and also of mental health, and to create hope through action to reduce the number of suicides and suicide attempts.

I have lost two close relatives to suicide so this is very important to me and is a subject very close to my heart. I want to help people, and help to promote the available courses to help people become more comfortable taking about the subject of suicide.

We invite people to join us on the day and to help tackle the stigma around mental health and suicide.”

If you would like to complete Mental Health and Suicide Prevention training and become an Orange Badge holder please visit or complete the online training


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