Salford charity uses shopping bags to save lives

Bags for Life are distributed across Salford. Image: START

Submitted by Dennis Baldwin

A local mental health charity is using reusable shopping bags to deliver an important message.

START – which is based in Salford, Greater Manchester – delivers ‘bags for life’ to social housing tenants across the city.

The bags have printed suicide prevention messages.

This is part of his award-winning campaign ‘Reach Out; Start to End Suicide’.

Dennis Baldwin, Reaching Out; The Start to End Suicide project manager, said: “Many of us will already be on the edge of poverty, which has a monumental impact on our mental health.

“These bags in our communities are promoting that suicide is not the only option.”

On one side of the bag is support information for those who are having suicidal thoughts.

The other side offers advice for those who are worried about a loved one.

The idea of ​​the bags is for the recipients to reuse them, spreading a suicide prevention message in their communities.

Dennis said: “You are never alone. Talk, connect, help and support is just a phone call away.”

Paul Dennett, Mayor of the City of Salford and Deputy Mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “The past two years have been difficult and tested everyone’s mental health.

“It is essential that we continue to raise awareness that it is normal not to be well and that we are not afraid to talk about mental health and suicide.

“Every life lost by suicide is a tragedy for all of us.”

According to Moody’s data, 46% of people living in social housing are at risk of poverty.

The Institute of Fiscal Studies has claimed that benefits must be twice as high as planned in 2022 in order to support the poorest in our society.

Paul said: ‘If people are struggling to afford food, gas and electricity, or need essential items, the council’s Salford Assist team have extra funding available through from the Household Support Fund and people do not need to be on benefits to be eligible.

“If it’s health or mental health, please talk to your GP, talk to friends and family or search online for mental health help in Salford.

“Just starting that conversation, asking for help, can be the first step on the road to recovery and healing, and I hope these bags help make that happen.”

If you are worried about someone or have suicidal thoughts, contact:

  • Samaritans (116,123) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write how you feel or are worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at [email protected]
  • child line (0800 1111 ) runs a helpline for children and young people in the UK. Calls are free and the number will not appear on your phone bill.
  • PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is a national charity that supports teens and young adults who are feeling suicidal.
  • Students Against Depression is a website for students who are depressed, in a low mood, or have suicidal thoughts.

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