Ballymoney’s Ethan Redmond has described his leg of the journey around Belfast carrying the ‘Baton of Hope’ as a ‘surreal experience‘.
The Baton of Hope aims to be the most significant suicide awareness and prevention initiative ever witnessed in the UK. Its purpose is to encourage essential conversations and prompt appropriate actions.
As part of the initiative, Ethan Redmond, who himself has overcome multiple suicide attempts, was selected to carry the Baton of Hope in Belfast. His part in today’s event (Friday, June 30) will help others who may be struggling and encourage them to open up and seek help if they are in need.
This specially designed baton is travelling across various towns and cities in the UK over a two-week period in the summer of 2023, aiming to raise awareness and tackle the issue like never before.
By working together, they can combat the stigmas associated with suicide, improve the ability to ask important questions, actively listen, and guide individuals towards the necessary help. Ultimately, their collective efforts can make a difference and save lives.
The Belfast route unites communities across the city’s South, East, West, and North. Commencing at Queen’s University Belfast’s Lanyon Building, The Baton will journey through Belfast, encompassing renowned landmarks such as Belfast City Hall, Titanic Belfast, the Parliament Buildings, and Crumlin Road Gaol. Along the way, it will pause at respected suicide awareness charities to highlight their invaluable work and commitment. The route culminates at the Spire of Hope in St Anne’s Cathedral, where a moment of reflection will take place.
Ethan wrote on social media: “Words can’t honestly describe the amount of emotions and feelings I’m experiencing right now writing this post. As many of you may have seen shared across my social media, I was given the opportunity recently to become a Baton Bearer for The Baton Of Hope UK tour here in Belfast!
“It was a surreal experience carrying the Baton from the Grand Opera House around to the main gates of Belfast City Hall, an experience that will live with me for the rest of my life!
“After completing my leg of the route, I continued alongside the rest of the entire route the rest of the day, meeting so many incredible, inspiring & altogether encouraging people.
“I have always been passionate about creating change & sparking conversations about mental health, trying ultimately to smash the stigmas attached & getting people chatting.
“I took part in The Baton Of Hope UK tour today, remembering some incredible people I’ve sadly lost from Mental Health alongside my own lived experiences and battles of poor, ill mental illness!
“Some days are harder than others, as we all experience, but getting to play a vital part in creating change is something we so urgently need!
“Thank you again to The Baton Of Hope team, including the fantastic Mike McCarthy & Papyrus, for giving me an experience like this that I’ll cherish forever!”