The Baton of Hope set off from Emirates Stadium this morning, having embarked on a tour of 12 cities across the UK, starting in Glasgow on Sunday 25th June and now culminating in London.
Baton of Hope is the largest suicide prevention initiative in the UK, speaking out about the mental health crisis that sees 17 people take their own lives every day.
The charity’s Baton, its iconic physical symbol, finishes its tour of the UK today by bringing a unifying message of hope to London, visiting iconic venues such as Emirates Stadium, the Royal Albert Hall, Horse Guards Parade, and Shakespeare’s Globe.
The Baton has been made by Thomas Lyte, goldsmiths and silversmiths to the late Queen Elizabeth II, and makers of the Emirates FA Cup and Rugby World Cup’s Webb Ellis Trophy.
Starting its journey through London, the Baton was met by our Arsenal in the Community team at our Stadium. Our community team have delivered a twice-weekly mental health football project for the past 12 years for service users of the Camden and Islington Mental Health Foundation Trust.
We also have a dedicated one-on-one therapeutic intervention available to all young people who take part in Arsenal in the Community sessions provided by the Brandon Centre. Both these projects are designed to offer community-based mental health interventions, using Arsenal to engage local people.
In addition, through the Arsenal Foundation and Islington Giving partnership, we have supported a local charity called Body and Soul which offers a dedicated suicide support project.
Our Community Accessibility Coordinator, Luke Howard, was the first Baton bearer of the day, carrying it to its next stop at Arsenal Tube Station, where it travelled in an exclusive carriage to Kings Cross, recognising the continuous work carried out by TFL, Network Rail and the Samaritans to make the Tube network and the Railways as safe as possible.
The Baton will then be carried by notable personalities, those with lived experience of mental ill health, and people with their own inspiring stories of hope. This includes Dr Alex George, Sheffield Wednesday and Wales footballer Will Vaulks, and DJ Fatboy Slim.
The tour will come to an end at the Houses of Parliament this afternoon, where the Baton of Hope launched its Workplace Charter in May.
If you are or know anyone who is feeling suicidal, help and support is available right now if you need it. You do not have to struggle with difficult feelings alone.
These free helplines are there to help when you're feeling down or desperate. You can also call these helplines for advice if you're worried about someone else.
Call 116 123
Childline (for children and young people under 19)
Call 0800 1111
SOS Silence of Suicide
Call 0300 1020 505 – 4pm to midnight every day
Shout Crisis Text Line
Text "SHOUT" to 85258
YoungMinds Crisis Messenger (for people under 19)
Text "YM" to 85258
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