Salford mental health charity taking to streets for World Suicide Prevention Day

136 yellow flags, each representing a life lost to suicide in Salford over the last five years, will be unfurled along the procession route
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Salford mental health charity Start Inspiring Minds will take to the streets for a Vigil & Procession of Remembrance of all the lives that have been lost to suicide on World Suicide Prevention Day.

Friday 10th September will see members of the public uniting to ‘Pause The City’ at Starts Wellbeing Centre, before the Vigil & Procession of Remembrance commences remembering those we have lost to suicide and in support of those left behind.

Losing a loved to suicide is one is one of life’s most painful experiences. The feelings of loss, sadness, and loneliness experienced after any death of a loved one are often magnified in suicide survivors by feelings of quilt, confusion, rejection, shame, anger, and the effects of stigma and trauma.

Furthermore, survivors of suicide loss are at higher risk of developing major depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and suicidal behaviours, as well as a prolonged form of grief called complicated grief.

There is the substantial stigma, which can keep those bereaved by a suicide away from much needed support and healing resources. Those left behind often require unique supportive measures and targeted treatment to cope with their loss.

To this end ‘Start Inspiring Minds’, through its ‘Reach Out; Start to End Suicide’ campaign, is delivering its annual World Suicide Prevention Day Vigil & Procession of Remembrance.

It challenges this stigma head on. 136 yellow flags, each representing a life lost to suicide in Salford over the last five years, will be unfurled along the procession route from Start to Salford Museum & Art Gallery.

Once at Salford Museum & Art Gallery a vigil of speakers and performances will honour the lives of those lost to suicide and supporting the grief of those that survive within this community display of unity.

It’s also sending a direct message to those that are suffering with their grief alone and isolated that there is help available and most importantly they are not alone.

“There is no point telling people to reach out if there is nowhere for them to reach out to – we are all responsible for helping to create those spaces,” said Rebecca Jackson, a textile artist who produced ‘The Speak Their Name Greater Manchester Suicide Memorial Quilt’, made by families and friends bereaved by suicide, and who lost her daughter to suicide in 2014.

“If we build strong communities, we help build stronger individuals and in doing so go some way to stopping people reach crisis point.

“Suicide prevention is everyone’s business.”  

Each year The Vigil of Remembrance on World Suicide Prevention Day is held to commemorate and mourn those we have lost to suicide.

“This year’s service is held against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic we are living through; a pandemic which has had a devastating impact on many lives,” said said Rebecca Long-Bailey, MP for Salford and Eccles.

“So many people are grieving for lost loved ones, are struggling in the aftermath of unexpected redundancies, or with the toll of isolating alone while struggling with severe mental health difficulties. In such difficult circumstances, some have tragically lost their battle, and taken their own lives.

“We need to come together as a community to look out for each other, to breakdown the stigma around mental health problems and suicide, in order to offer the deep and extensive support required. 

“There is support out there and people who can help. We must do all we can to let those who are struggling know, especially those isolating, that they are not alone. That there is always hope, and help here, no matter the circumstances.

“Disseminating this message, that there is always assistance there, is why the work of the Reach Out: Start to End Suicide project is more important than ever.”

The Vigil & Procession of Remembrance will feature performances from the singers and songwriters Jess Kemp, Bianca Alana, and Alex James Brierley. Also taking part are Rebecca Jackson from the ‘Speak Their Name’ Memorial Quilt Project, Rebecca Long-Bailey, MP for Salford & Eccles, Paul Dennett, Mayor of Salford, Poet, Verity Brown, with Emma Goswell from Gaydio hosting the event along with a roll of remembrance being read and a minute’s silence being observed for all the lives lost to suicide.

“There are so many different layers to the Vigil & Procession of Remembrance, it is about remembering those we have lost to suicide, supporting those that are grieving the loss of a loved one to suicide, showing those that are grieving alone and isolated that they are not alone, ending the stigma that stops us reaching out when we are struggling and when we see others struggling, and that we are here when anyone needs us, you are not alone,” said Dennis Baldwin, Reach Out; Start to End Suicide Project Manager.

“Please join us and together we can start to end suicide being an option for anyone.”

If you would like to have a loved one’s name added to the roll of remembrance which will be read at the vigil and/or carry a flag in the procession of remembrance, email: dennisb@startinspiringminds.org.uk. If you would like to register to carry a flag in remembrance of a loved one in the procession, click here.  

World Suicide Prevention Day Vigil of Remembrance will take place on Friday 10th September. 6pm gather START Wellbeing Centre M6 5BZ. 6.30pm Procession of Remembrance, then at 7pm Vigil of Remembrance, Salford Museum & Art Gallery M5 4WU. Find out more at startinspiringminds.org.uk.

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