The Baton of Hope has successfully been dispatched to 10 Downing Street to raise awareness around mental health and suicide prevention.
The Baton of Hope, founded by former journalist Mike McCarthy, has visited cities across the UK, including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Sheffield, Cardiff, Bristol and Birmingham before arriving in London.
McCarthy’s son Ross took his own life in February 2021 and left a request that his family campaign for better mental health support. The Baton of Hope was created in his memory to raise awareness of suicide, which is the single biggest killer of both men and women under 35 and of men under 50.
One of the carriers of the baton was Association of Medical Insurers and Intermediaries (AMII) executive chairman David Middleton, who held the baton as it passed through London on 6 July – shortly before it was delivered to 10 Downing Street.
Middleton (pictured carrying the baton) revealed he was inspired to take part in the tour when McCarthy spoke at the 2022 AMII AGM and again as a guest on its Talking Health and Wellbeing podcast earlier this year.
“It was a privilege to take part in the Baton of Hope tour and I’m so grateful to have been given the opportunity to carry the baton during its passage through London,” Middleton said.
“It was an emotional time talking to those who have lost loved ones to suicide and remembering people I knew who didn’t get the help they needed and felt they had no other choice.
“Mike is an inspiration and the campaign work he has done in his son’s memory is incredible. It’s so important that we bring about change in how we approach suicide, how we talk about it and how we support those affected by it.”