Youmanity at the Houses of Parliament

According the Office on National Statistics in 2020, there were 5,224 suicides registered in England and Wales. Three-quarters of suicide deaths were for men (3,925 deaths; 75.1%), which follows a consistent trend back to the mid-1990s. Males and females aged 45 to 49 years had the highest age-specific suicide rate (24.1 male and 7.1 female deaths per 100,000). London has had the lowest suicide rate of any region of England (7.0 deaths per 100,000), while the highest rate in 2020 was in the North East with 13.3 deaths per 100,000.

In 2019 Youmanity, together with the charity PAPYRUS, launched Friend-Ship. This is a campaign reclaiming the importance of friendship to promote human connection and help prevent mental health issues associated with social isolation.

“Friends are vital to our lives and for our mental health. It is often through friends that we learn the most about ourselves. We go on an incredible journey with friends and survive adversity standing by them. Over time we develop important emotional connections, which give us the courage to show who we really are on the inside,” says Angelo Iudice, founder of Youmanity.

Our community project photographer, Grace Lambert-Phillips, asked Londoners what friendship actually meant to them before taking their portrait. The project generated a collection of over 30 portraits representing people from all walks of life. Friend-Ship has since become an award-winning community project. In June 2019 it received the Atul Patak Gold Community Award at the Palace of Westminster. In October that year the entire collection of portraits was displayed on the entire DLR network. Three years later, Friend-ship continues to be appreciated by the general public. This year, from 19/07 to 05/08 Friend-Ship Photography Exhibition will be displayed at the Paddington Library. The exhibition will be inaugurated by City of Westminster Councillor, Maggie Carman, whom we thank immensely for her support over the years.

Friend-Ship received more recognition this year with confirmation that the collection of portraits, together with the sitters’ own definition of friendship will be showcased within the Upper Waiting Hall, Houses of Parliament between 12-16 December 2022. This is a location of significant importance as this space is used by the country’s MPs who can hopefully help raise more awareness of suicide prevention in their own constituencies. Friend-Ship at the Houses of Parliament is sponsored by our local MP, Karen Buck, who was re-elected as the Member of Parliament for Westminster North at the last General Election. Youmanity, Volunteers and Trustees and Patrons, convey their grateful thanks to Karen Buck MP for her kindness and generosity.  

Watch this space for all upcoming Friend-Ship exhibitions and events!

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