I was driving home back to my university digs in Stoke-on-Trent on a cold night in November 2014 – a pretty normal night, with nothing out-of-the-ordinary happening. As I was turning into the street on which I live, I noticed a woman who was walking, by herself, in the middle of the road towards a bridge further up the road which crossed over one of the busiest roads in Staffordshire, the A500. She had her arms spread out as if she were attempting to lift off and fly, and – to be honest – my initial thoughts were that she was intoxicated.
When I realised that my usual parking space had been taken, I decided to go over to the university’s main campus to find another parking spot, and this involved going over the aforementioned bridge. As I went over the bridge, I saw the woman starting to climb up onto the bridge’s railings: at this moment, I slammed my brakes on, and immediately made the call to the emergency services, requesting the police, as I didn’t know what else to do.
After the call, I parked my car over on the campus, and walked back via the same bridge to my house. As I was walking, I noticed that there were multiple emergency vehicles on the bridge, and a crowd of people around the woman, who was now lying on the ground, hysterically crying. After tapping one of the attending police officers on the back and asking if she was alright, I followed it up with saying “I’m the one who called,” just to avoid him thinking that I wasn’t just a nosy passer by. Immediately, I noticed his face change, and he signaled another officer over, and requested that he take my details – to which I agreed.
Thinking not a lot more about it, I assumed that everything was okay, and that I could go home and enjoy my Christmas break but when I got back to Stoke after Christmas, there was a letter waiting for me. I opened it – it was a letter from the chief officer who dealt with the event, personally thanking me for my actions during that evening. It was at this moment that I realised that I have the potential to make a difference to someone’s life – and this is a rhetoric that can be applied to everyone: we’ve all been given the gift of communication in some form, so why not use it when it’s needed most? If you see someone struggling, or – and I wouldn’t wish this on anyone, because it’s a horrible sight – see someone attempting to take their own life, don’t think that you don’t have the power to help them – because you do.
And this is why I support CALM: because I want to make a difference, not only to those affected by depression or suicide, but to those who want to help.
If you are worried about someone, and think they might be at risk of suicide, please read our Worried About Someone? page which has info on how to talk to them about it and what to do (and not do!)
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