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#PASSITON

The UK’s biggest suicide prevention initiative

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WHO IS THE #BATONOFHOPEUK?

Mike McCarthy

Mike was a journalist – for more than 36 years, he reported on headline stories across the world, notching up hundreds of appearances on the BBC and Sky News. Some of his riskier assignments saw him covering masked rioters looting in Manchester, and the frontlines of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, none of these experiences prepared him for the ordeal of losing his 31-year-old son Ross in February 2021. Ross had battled depression for a decade when he died; he left a young son, a fiancée, and a heartfelt request that his family campaign for better mental health support. Mike is committed to honouring Ross’ final wish.

Mike McCarthy Baton of Hope

MEET THE REST OF THE #BATONOFHOPEUK ORGANISING COMMITTEE:

Andrea Sparke 

Andrea has many years’ experience in politics, creating policy for Children’s Services as a councillor for the Royal Borough of Kingston-upon-Thames; she also held the position of Cabinet Member for Children, Youth and Adult Learning. She has lost two close friends through suicide: Dan, aged 23, and Clare, a 39-year-old young mum of 2. She has a deep understanding of adolescent depression, and first-hand experience of mental health issues within her own family.

Andrea Sparke

TANYA MARWAHA 

Tanya pioneers youth mental wellbeing awareness – she is the founder of a youth-led peer community Championing Youth Minds. She has lived with depression from a young age, and has experienced suicidal crisis and loss herself. Navigating mental health support in the South Asian community has been a challenge, so she advocates for mental health education and suicide prevention to recognise the intersectionality of identity and cultural factors.

Tanya Marwaha

GEORGE SULLIVAN

George is a Director at Optimal Minds – a psychological strategy consultancy – and a public speaker on mental health and suicide prevention. He first experienced mental health challenges, self-harm and suicidal ideation as a 14-year-old, and attempted to take his life whilst experiencing a drug-induced psychotic episode as a 23-year-old. He now hosts his own mental health show – ‘Sully’s Open Conversation’ – opening up and normalising discussion about mental health.

George Sullivan