Creative Options has held an Annual Suicide Awareness and Prevention Conference for three years. This year we were approached by the Good Mental Health Co-operative to collaborate to bring the 'Hampshire Festival of the Mind' to Southampton. The theme was 'its about hope' and incorporated a number of events. We had a very thoughtful and reflective time at the Mental Health Trialogue on Thursday 6th. This sponsored walk at Lepe beach on Saturday raised some £350 and rising for our charity. Our 'keeping the Hope' day saw 70+ delegates attended together with a number of organisations, including Recovery college, Good mental Health Co-operative and human library, Healthwatch, Capable Creatures, Board in the City, Esther Ridsdale with 'Time to Thrive' workshop promotion and 'Create and Prosper' workshop with our colleague who also heads up our products of hope social enterprise. A number of people shared inspiring stories of hope and poetry. Music was provided by the Ukelele Jam and our own 'with a song in mind' choir. Participants were invited to visit the 'river of hope' and paint fishes with positive messages on them and place in the river. Paul Lewzey kindly stood in as M.C in the absence of Stephen Press who was our chair of Trustees who sadly died recently. We had a 1 minutes silence to remember him and opened a book of condolence which will be available at the Third Age Centre shortly. Alan Whitehead and Councillor Dave Shields supported the event. Special thanks to Saire Herschel who mainly organised the event and our staff and members who worked hard on the day.
In the evening a number gathered at the Peace fountain to light t lights in specially designed votives to remember those lost through suicide.
Tuesday morning saw 63+ people, including representatives from the board of Southern Health and the Public Health department; arise at 5 a.m. to greet the dawn on our 'walk of hope' walk wearing our specially designed commemorative t shirts. Special poetry was read out at the beginning and end and these will shortly be available to read on our website and drone footage of the event was recorded and is currently being edited. We wish to acknowledge the financial support of Southern Health NHS Trust and 'Awards for All'. Thank you to Hampshire Search and Rescuer who supported us and the Proprietors of the Hawthorne Cafe who opened up early to provide refreshments. Particular thanks is conveyed to Brendan O'Reilly who was inspired by the 'walk from darkness into light' which happens all over Ireland to bring it to Southampton. We hope it will become an annual event. The festival included a Touch Network event, music workshops and a community lunch. To view an excerpt of the drone footage please use the link below.