Somerset’s ‘Walk for a Life’ event, aimed at raising awareness of suicide prevention, returned on Saturday 9 September for the second time.
Starting at Castle House at the Museum of Somerset at 10:30am, crowds gathered to take the mile long walk through Taunton’s Town Centre, passing through meaningful locations to commemorate those impacted by suicide within the County.
The walk paused in Vivary Park for a moment of reflection and to lay flowers at the ‘Afterlife’ bench donated by Netflix and CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably).
The event was attended by nearly 100 people and was organised by Somerset Council’s Public Health team in partnership with NHS Somerset and various organisations across the county.
The event’s key focus was on the theme of ‘Creating Hope Through Action’ to address the critical issue of suicide prevention and provide support to those affected.
Participants were given a free back sign from the Walk for a Life team, which they could personalise in remembrance of a loved one.
Sammiie Winter, Lived Experience Peer and event organiser, Mind in Somerset said:
“The Walk for a Life event is an extremely powerful and emotive event with hope at its centre and Saturday’s event truly amplified this.
“In what is naturally a very isolating and lonely subject, it was an honour to see a whole community of nearly 100 people come together and unite in hope to show people you don’t have to walk alone.”
Cllr Adam Dance, Lead Member for Public Health, Equalities, and Diversity at Somerset Council added:
“It was incredibly moving to be part of this poignant event and I commend the bravery of all who took part; I can only imagine how difficult it must have been.
“Our actions, no matter how big or small, can provide hope to someone who is struggling and by coming together in ways like this, we can support each other and show people that they are not alone. I could see so many people there took great solace in that.”
Following the walk, participants were invited back to Castle House at the Museum of Somerset where there were refreshments provided and local organisations on hand to chat about their services and provide support.
Leading up to the event, members of the public were invited to share their inspiring quotes, lyrics, or poems that have helped them during challenging times in their lives. These have been published in a ‘Book of Hope’ and can be read here: Book of Hope – Walk for a Life.
Support for those dealing with mental health challenges or suicidal thoughts is readily available through organisations like Open Mental Health. To explore various support options, visit www.openmentalhealth.org.uk.
The Somerset Emotional Wellbeing podcast has also produced an episode for World Suicide Prevention Day. Host Dr. Peter Bagshaw is joined by Sammiie Winter and Steve Rider from Mind in Somerset to discuss what the Somerset Suicide Bereavement Support Service has done to support them and other people in their time of need and how you can get help and support if you need it.