Baton of Hope
2081. Mike McCarthy
Mike McCarthy, from Sheffield, created ‘Baton of Hope’, a relay tour of the UK raising awareness of suicide and improving signposting of suicide prevention services.
Mike lost his son Ross to suicide, who had left a farewell letter to Mike to campaign for better mental health support. After meeting with Steve Phillip, who also had lost his son to suicide, the pair came up with the idea of an Olympic-style relay tour that could create a national conversation around suicide, which is the main cause of death in men and women aged under 35 in the UK. Mike has since continued to lead the planning of the tour, bringing together a huge range of charity and corporate partners to participate in events across the country and showcase the support services they can offer to prevent suicide. The tour also brings together family and friends bereaved by suicide. The ‘Baton of Hope’ started from Glasgow on the 25 June before finishing in London and arriving at Downing Street today, where Mike was presented with his award by Health Minister Maria Caulfield MP (Pictured above. Photo credit: Simon Dawson / No10 Downing Street)
In a personal letter to Mike, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:
“It is tragic that suicide is the biggest cause of death for under 35s, and that you lost your son Ross to suicide.
“Coming together in grief with Steve, you have created an extraordinary movement. From Glasgow to Downing Street, you have taken to streets all across the country getting people talking about suicide and reducing stigma.
“This government will do everything we can to help you in this mission and with getting people access to the support they need.
“‘The Baton of Hope’ is a true point of light in our country, and it will help to save many lives now and in years to come.”
“I am honoured to receive this accolade on behalf of the Baton Of Hope team who have worked tirelessly to establish our charity and further the cause of a zero suicide society.”
See more about ‘Baton of Hope’
Watch the Prime Minister thank Mike for the ‘Baton of Hope’ campaign: