Somerset County Council launches Orange Button Scheme at Walk for a Life event

More than 50 people walked through the streets of Taunton on Saturday to raise awareness of suicide across Somerset.

Many of those taking part in Somerset County Council’s inaugural ‘Walk for a Life’ event were walking in memory of loved ones or because of their own experiences. The groups paused for reflection at Vivary Park’s bandstand before laying flowers at a bench donated by Ricky Gervais’ Netflix programme ‘After Life’.

The walk finished at the Somerset County Cricket Club, where a number of partners were on hand to offer information and advice including Somerset Foundation Trust, Open Mental Health and Stepladder.

The event also marked the launch of Somerset County Council’s new ‘Orange Button’ scheme: a community-based suicide awareness scheme.  

People who are having thoughts of suicide, or who are worried about a friend or family member, can now “push the button” when they see someone wearing a distinctive orange badge, and ask them for information and support.

The Orange Button is worn by people in Somerset who have undergone quality assured Mental Health or Suicide Prevention training: whilst they are not able to counsel people, they can help people to find relevant services locally.

Cllr Adam Dance, Lead Member for Public Health, Equalities and Diversity at Somerset County Council said:

“There’s still quite a stigma surrounding mental health – people find it very difficult to talk about it.

“As someone who has struggled with my own mental health before, I actually didn’t know where to go or where to get help.

“We need to raise awareness that it is time to talk about suicide. We need to spread the message that talking to someone in distress won’t make the situation worse.

“I am really passionate about promoting the Orange Button scheme to make sure as many people within our communities know how they can get help when they need it.”

To find out more about the Orange Button scheme including how to become an orange button wearer, please visit Somerset’s Mental Health Training Offer – Healthy Somerset.

If you need help right now and you are struggling with your mental health, having thoughts of suicide, or are worried about a friend or family member please call our 24/7 helpline Mindline phone: 01823 276892 or freephone: 0800 138 1692 or visit Open Mental Health to find help and support.


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