Wigan Council encourages open conversations about mental health for Month of Hope

Wigan Council encourages open conversations about mental health for Month of Hope


Councillors and community groups stand in Believe Square

The Month of Hope is set to return to Wigan Borough this September with the aim of breaking down barriers surrounding mental health, encouraging open conversations and inspiring a community-wide effort to prevent suicide.

Bridging World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10 and World Mental Health Awareness Day on October 10, Month of Hope is a time where candid discussions about mental health are encouraged in order to eliminate stigmas and provide help to those struggling to reach out.

The month will be marked across the whole of Greater Manchester though a series of events, workshops and interactive sessions, and Wigan Council marked the beginning of the month by planting yellow flowers in Believe Square to raise awareness of suicide prevention.

Councillor Susan Gambles, a member of Wigan Council’s suicide prevention board, said: “Too many people across the borough have been devastated when someone they know has taken their own life.

“That’s why it’s so important that we get the message out as wide as possible; to let everyone know that there is help and support available locally and nationally, and to remind anyone feeling lost, alone or unsure where to turn that there are people on hand to help those who feel without choice.

“The Month of Hope reiterates Wigan Council’s commitment to preventing suicide while also inspiring hope. It would be good if we all take the time to reflect on our own challenges, as well as those around us. Help and support is always there.”

A team of 33 runners made up of council staff, partners and those affected by suicide also raised awareness for Greater Manchester’s suicide prevention campaign Shining A Light On Suicide by taking part in the Wigan 10k on Sunday, September 3 and a series of well-being walks have been arranged throughout September by the council’s Be Well service.

Councillor Danny Fletcher, lead member for leisure and public health at Wigan Council, said: “This is such an important month for Wigan Borough and for all of Greater Manchester. It is about removing stigmas surrounding mental health challenges and ensuring everyone knows where to turn for support if they are in a time of crisis.

“It is also about inspiring hope, engaging in acts of kindness and sharing stories of resilience in order to support one another. Together we can all make a difference in the lives of individuals across our community.”

The council is encouraging residents to begin the month by considering taking the free Learn to Save a Life training which can be found on the Shining a Light On Suicide website. The training will give everyone the skills they need to help someone who is struggling with suicidal thoughts.

From Saturday, September 9 there will also be cards of hope placed around the borough offering advice and words of hope to anyone who finds them. It’s hoped the messages will be spread even wider as those who find them are asked to share photos of the cards by tagging in the council’s social media channels.

To take the Save a Life training, residents can visit Shining a Light on Suicide (external link).

Posted on Friday 8th September 2023

© Wigan Council