On Monday, Preet Kaur Gill MP received the Baton Of Hope as it made its way through Birmingham. Baton of Hope is a trailblazing mental health movement that is set to be the UK’s biggest suicide awareness and prevention campaign. An event was also held at MAC Theatre in Edgbaston, gathering leaders, key figures, charities and organisations to reshape the national conversation around suicide.
Preet Kaur Gill MP, who opened the event with a poignant speech, said: “Suicide is the silent epidemic. Deaths from suicides have been rising since 2008, and tragically reached a record high in England and Wales last year.
“This is personal to me. I have witnessed the devastating impact that suicide has had on families, friends, and communities. The stories of loss and despair are etched in my heart, and they fuel my determination to bring about change.
“The Baton of Hope symbolizes the resilience, determination, and unity that will guide us on this journey. As it makes its way through our towns and cities, it will ignite conversations, inspire action, and provide a beacon of hope to those who are struggling.
“Together, we can build a future where suicide is not an option, where support is readily available, and where hope reigns supreme. Because every life is precious, and every life is worth saving.”
The baton is currently on a two-week tour of Britain’s major towns and cities, raising the profile of this issue like never before. The movement aims to boost the national conversation to eliminate the stigma around mental health and to summarise key suicide prevention steps that can be taken by institutions, businesses, public agencies, communities and organisations. They will challenge the Government and public institutions to aim higher on suicide prevention by connecting and collaborating with people and organisations already working to save lives.
Preet Kaur Gill MP is a long-time advocate for mental health issues: she used her maiden speech in Parliament to pledge to fight the stigma surrounding mental health, launched a campaign with young people in Birmingham about the issue and is currently working with the Edgbaston Youth Council, who have raised mental health as a major concern.