Hopeful Steps to reach out and help those who are in despair

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A THIRD annual Hopeful Steps memorial walk is being organised by Scottish Borders Council and NHS Borders on Saturday, September 15, as part of Suicide Prevention Week 2012.

Elaine Torrance, SBC’s acting director of social work said: “Raising awareness of this important issue is a key priority for the council and our partners. Together with Choose Life, we have supported a range of initiatives over the past eight years to encourage staff and members of the community to ask about suicide if they are concerned about someone and to do so as soon as possible.

Councillor Catriona Bhatia, SBC’s executive member for health service added: “The focus of this year’s campaign will be to support the general public to look out for signs of suicidal intent in the people around them and to encourage them to talk about how they feel.

“Our aim is to encourage a sense of community responsibility across the Borders. We want to give residents the confidence to initiate conversations about suicide and we want them to know who they can approach for advice and information.”

John Raine, chair of NHS Borders said: “This is an opportunity for us all to come together to raise awareness and share knowledge about suicide prevention and the support and advice available. Every suicide is a tragic loss of life, but we all have a role to play in suicide prevention. Only by working together can we support those struggling with suicidal thoughts to reach out.”

The Hopeful Steps walk starts at 9.30am from New Horizons at 10b Galabank Mill in Galashiels, and follows a five mile circular route. Sponsorship money will be shared between the local branches of New Horizons, SAMH, Penumbra Youth Project, Penumbra Borders Support Living Services and Samaritans.

As well as the walk the team are holding a series of road shows ‘Read Between the lines’ from 10.30am – 3.30pm: Monday, August 10 – Tower Mill, Hawick; Tuesday, August 11 – Kenmore Hall, Jedburgh; Wednesday, August 12 – Masonic Hall, Eyemouth; Thursday, August 13 – Fresh Start, Island Street, Galashiels; Friday, August 14 – Royal Burgh Hall, Peebles.

If you are feeling suicidal the following helplines are available: Samaritans: 08457 90 90 90; Breathing Space: 0800 83 85 87 (Mon-Thurs 6pm-2am; Weekends: Fri 6pm-Mon 6am); ChildLine: 0800 11 11; National Debt line: 0808 808 4000 (Mon-Fri 9am-9pm, Sat 9.30-1pm).