#BatonOfHopeUK: It’s time for a change

It’s hard to grasp and difficult to discuss, but 6,000 die by suicide in the UK every year.

Given those numbers, it’s an issue that will touch many of us at some point, which is why it’s such a massive responsibility to be appointed to deliver the UK’s largest ever suicide prevention and awareness campaign, #BatonOfHopeUK.

Kicking off this summer, this campaign will raise the issue like never before, consolidating all the great work already being done around the UK, and fuelling a national conversation in the media, in homes, in businesses, and in government – culminating in a baton relay tour of cities across the UK, arriving at the gates of Downing Street in 2023.

We’re throwing the full weight of our creative and strategic agency expertise behind this. It’s time for a change, because suicide is still the biggest killer of young men and women.

That’s an uncomfortable fact, which is maybe why we don’t talk about it. But that taboo, the stigma, is a fundamental part of the problem. Because we don’t talk about it, we aren’t able to ask the right questions when it counts. We’re not equipped to spot the signs in people who feel they have nowhere left to turn.

This matters, because nearly every suicide is preventable. And without a change, stories like Mike and Steve’s will continue to be more common than any of us would like to admit.

When we met Mike McCarthy and Steve Philips, they were driven by grief… and hope.

Mike had been a journalist with 36 years of reporting for the likes of BBC and Sky News, while Steve was a successful business consultant and keynote speaker. Their sons lost their mental health battles – Steve’s son Jordan in 2019, Mike’s son Ross in 2021.

Their tragedies changed their families’ lives forever. They resolved to bring about a change. In how we approach suicide as a society. In how we talk about it. And in how we support those affected by it.

In June 2022, Mike (left) and Steve (right) appeared on BBC Breakfast to discuss their experiences and reveal what they plan to do now.

Already with the backing of political leaders, key media organisations, celebrities, influencers and a slew of brands and businesses, our team has supported the development and delivery of the first stages of #BatonOfHopeUK, the brand identity, messaging, and sponsorship strategy.

And our events management experts are helping to shape the initiative, providing specialist project management, programming and logistics, and fleshing out the strategic plan for the next 12 months of campaigning.

It’s going to be a busy year, but we’re fully committed to raising the profile of an issue that impacts individuals and families everywhere, irrespective of demographic.

Mike McCarthy and Steve Phillip, co-founders of #BatonOfHopeUK said: “Our thanks to the Bray Leino Events team for the sensitivity, expertise, and energy they’ve already brought to this issue. We have big ambitions for #BatonOfHopeUK, and we’re confident that with such outstanding partners, we’ll bring about the change that our society needs.”

We support #BatonOfHopeUK. And if you or your organisation would like to get involved, sponsor, or donate, find out more at www.batonofhopeuk.org.