Day 7 – 5asideCHESS Battling Suicide Bus Tour

Today the Battling Suicide Bus was in Plymouth. We had debated whether it was appropriate to go so soon after the recent shootings and subsequent suicide and yet people seemed genuinely appreciative that we had done so. We had so many encounters that it’s hard to know where to begin. The day started with Graham from Falmouth who gave us the ultimate compliment of saying that as soon as he saw the bus, he knew it would be a safe space to talk. Tina and John from one of the local churches came down to spend time with us – they are seeing so many people in desperate need of support and connection; Ben who wrote on the bus to Gill Hayes – a mental health advocate from Exeter who sadly took her own life in January this year; Andrea, who attempted suicide last year after the breakdown of her marriage; Rachel whose husband took his own life several years ago and so many more brave people who came over to connect with us and share their stories.We gave everyone we talked to some 5asideCHESS sets as tools for them to use to connect with others. The Battling Suicide Bus keeps rolling on to the next destination so we need local people who will use the chess to get something real going and keep the flame alight. Who knows the issues in their own area better than the people who live there?Today could have gone either way but it was very clear that taking the bus to Plymouth was the right decision.