40 seconds: Suicide awareness sand timer being launched in Hampshire

31 August 2022

A 6ft tall public art installation raising awareness of youth suicide is being launched outside Winchester Cathedral from 10 October to mark World Mental Health Day.

The installation is a sand timer that will revolve every 40 seconds, reflecting global statistics that every 40 seconds someone ends their life by suicide. A counter will mark every revolution to reflect just how many lives this represents.

Within the sand timer there are 161 balls. These represent the 161 children and adolescents under the age of 19 years old who ended their life by suicide in 2020 in England. The 113 orange coloured balls represent the 113 boys who ended their lives and the 48 purple coloured balls represent the number of girls who ended their lives by suicide.

Organised by Hampshire Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), which is provided by Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, the project has been jointly funded by Sussex Partnership's official charity, Heads On, and Ringwood Round Table.

Helen Dove, Innovation and Participation Lead at Hampshire CAMHS, said: "Public art is a very powerful way of getting important messages out. No message can be more important than raising awareness about suicide. We want to draw attention whilst encouraging kindness and compassion and providing information about where people can seek help.

"While this event raises awareness of suicide, and will hopefully encourage people to have that first conversation, it is also important to consider those who might be impacted. A variety of support and signposting will be on offer at the sand timer installation for anyone in crisis and/or coping with the aftermath of suicide."

The installation will be outside Winchester Cathedral from 10 October for four weeks, and is being supported by the Mayor of Winchester who will be in attendance at the launch ceremony.

For more information about Hampshire CAMHS and the services they provide for children and young people, go to hampshirecamhs.nhs.uk.