The friendship benches are about shedding light on mental illness and breaking the stigma that exists around mental illness and suicide. We want to promote good conversations between Helsingborgers and encourage conversations about mental health.
In 2020, there were 1441 people who took their own lives in Sweden, this corresponds to 4 suicides every day. According to statistics, there are about 10 times more suicide attempts, 100 times more plans and 1000 times more people who have thoughts of suicide. Thoughts are common and we can help prevent people from taking their lives.
In connection with the International Suicide Prevention Day on 10 September, we launched the Friendship Benches project, which aims to shed light on mental illness and break the stigma that exists around mental illness and suicide.
The benches themselves have a strong symbolic value. Through our six ambassadors who share their stories of mental illness and suicide, we want to give hope to other people in similar situations and break through the myths and misconceptions that exist.
This project is inspired by The Friendship Bench project and similar projects worldwide. We repaint a number of benches in the city yellow to draw attention to the issue and create an ambassadorial campaign. For the benches, we have ambassadors who share their stories about mental illness and suicide. The ambassadors' stories, background to the project, myths about suicide and help and support contacts can be found at helsingborg.se/vanskapsbankarna