We joined BACP members, campaigners and the public – and even an F1 racing star – on a leg of the Baton of Hope suicide awareness tour.

Our Third Sector Lead Jeremy Bacon and Four Nations Lead Steve Mulligan carried the baton on its journey through Milton Keynes.

They joined Emma Branch, chief executive of organisational member and BACP-accredited service The Counselling Foundation, who has been a driving force behind the initiative.

She was among those to carry the baton, including Red Bull Racing's F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo.

Suicide awareness

Emma addressing a packed conference at the MK Stadium, where she introduced the Baton of Hope Workplace charter that focuses on suicide awareness and prevention.

She said: “The vast majority of workplaces have some way to go to realise truly providing psychological safety.

“It's still difficult for employees to have honest conversations about mental wellbeing, and there's still some fear and reluctance about accessing support when it is made available at work.

“We're providing guidance for employers that encourages them to promote employee help-seeking and including links to the BACP-accredited services and therapist directories in the charter.”

Members' critical work

Steve said: “It was a huge privilege to be asked by Emma to support her in carrying the Baton of Hope and, in doing so, help to represent the critical work so many BACP members play in supporting people through their mental health journey, including those dealing with suicidal thoughts and ideation.

“We were also keen to mark the incredible work that Emma has done on the organising committee of Baton of Hope and the journey it has taken across the UK to bring people together to tackle the stigma of suicide, to call for more accessible support, and ultimately save lives.”

The campaign is designed to be the UK’s biggest suicide awareness and prevention initiative.

It aims to open up conversations and prompt actions to address the factors that contribute to the UK’s 17 daily suicides – numbers that have not changed significantly in more than 20 years.

The Baton of Hope suicide prevention campaign ends at the Houses of Parliament with a reception on July 6.

We’ve put together a compilation of suicide prevention resources for members, including presentations, articles and good practice guides.