Social media has become part of our daily lives. It gives a place to communicate, to impart information, to fight for dignity and respect and tolerance. But underneath there is a dark part to the web which shows the very worst part of our humanity.

From trolls to fake news, the web can get more than dirty, and thats not to say anything about the more horrific things we hear about on a regular basis.

The internet is a place of wonders but it can also be a place of some of the more terrifying things that exist on this planet.

Today I saw a post with a picture which I immediately recognised as being false.

The picture above of dummies hanging from a bridge in London was adorned with a tweet referencing it as pro-brexit protestors calling for the hanging of MP’s over the failure to leave the EU on the 29th of March.

This is fake news!

My views on Brexit are clear and unoquivical, I am against it. I often have serious reservations about how some of the brexiteers act and I have serious concerns about how more right wing elements of their campaign have hijacked it from the centre, using it as a platform to spread misinformation and hate. However, is a sinister element on both sides of the debate and regardless of my position on brexit, this one has to be challenged.

This WAS NOT the brexiteers, indeed this picture was not even taken within the last two months, it has nothing to do with Brexit, nor the leave campaign, nor even members of parliament.

Why am I so vehemently challenging this blatant lie? Well in short it diminishes the true spirit of what this “hanging” picture actually was.

In january 2019, 20 students from south London made their way to Westminster Bridge and hung these dummies TO HIGHLIGHT THE UK’S ONGOING MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS!

All 20 of the students involved had either attempted or considered suicide before the age of 18.

This was a protest about SAVING LIVES and addressing mental health issues, it was not a statement about politics. For these people to not only go out and protest like this but freely bring up their own stories to the press in attendance, was one of the hardest things a person can do and also one of the bravest.

By sharing this picture and using it for cheap brexit political shots it is, with respect, disgusting. I do not care what side of the fence anyone sits on, when you demean this picture and use it falsely you demean what these students were trying to achieve and also their bravery coming forward about their own issues.

In the UK, 850,000 children and young people – one in ten – have a diagnosable mental health condition. It’s estimated that 20 percent of adolescents in any given year will experience a mental health problem. Studies show that 50 percent of mental health problems are established by age 14, with 75 percent established by age 24.

Mental health represents 28 percent of the “disease burden” in the UK. Historically, however, it has only received around 13 percent of the funding. This is what this protest was about, bringing light to a dark situation and highlighting a real life issue which needs to be addressed.

This was a protest about highlighting death to save lives, not about using the threat of death to score cheap political points and I would appreciate it if you would challenge anyone who posts it out of context!

This article in the vice talks about what this picture is really about and I highly suggest you read it:

If you see the picture floating around and being used with regards to anything except its real context, please challenge it for the lie that it is!