A young man was safely taken to hospital after strangers helped to stop him from ending his life.
One of the teenagers involved in the rescue has spoken of how time seemed to slow down, as she spoke to the distressed person at Clifton Downs in Bristol last night (Monday, May 10).
Police said they were called to reports of a “fear for welfare” involving a man, but one of the witnesses said he appeared to only be a young teenager.
The 17-year-old girl, who asked not to be named, said she had been for a walk with three friends when they saw him in a precarious position overlooking the cliff edge.
She said: “There was already a group of boys with him, shouting for help.
“Two boys I was with jumped over, trying to hold him back.
“I stayed speaking to him, just kept asking his name.”
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Talk to someone.
There are useful helplines and websites available now.
Samaritans (116 123) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Childline (0800 1111) runs a helpline for children and young people in the UK. Calls are free and the number won’t show up on your phone bill.
PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is a voluntary organisation supporting teenagers and young adults.
Depression Alliance is a charity for people with depression. It doesn’t have a helpline, but offers a wide range of useful resources and links to other relevant information. http://www.depressionalliance.org/
Students Against Depression is a website for students who are depressed, have a low mood or are having suicidal thoughts. Bullying UK is a website for both children and adults affected by bullying. http://studentsagainstdepression.org/
The Sanctuary (0300 003 7029) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year, for people who are struggling to cope – experiencing depression, anxiety, panic attacks or in crisis.
She said he was clearly in a distressed state and was not responding to her attempt to make conversation, but she kept trying.
One of her friends retrieved his bag and she searched it looking for identification, or something else that might have his name on to help talk to him.
She added: “He was in a bad state.
“He was on the edge, literally ready to slip down.”
Her friend quickly called the police and an officer arrived promptly, followed shortly afterwards by back-up including from ambulance and fire crews.
‘It felt like an hour’
The girl said: “It could only have been about five minutes until they got here but in the moment it felt like an hour.”
Her group stayed there until they saw him lifted back to safe ground.
She said they were “shaken” afterwards but felt grateful that they had been there to help.
She added: “I called my mum crying – he was just so young.”
Her mum told Bristol Live: “I was very proud when she said what she’d done, they all did their bit.
“You do hear of people walking by these things or not seeing, but none of them hesitated to help.”
Avon and Somerset Police confirmed that they were called out at about 8.55pm “in response to a concern for the welfare of a man”.
A spokesperson added: “He was brought to safety and subsequently taken to hospital.”
How to approach someone in need
The Samaritans has a guide for how to approach someone in distress in a public place, and advice on how to identify when someone is at risk.
It states: “You might be worried that you’ll make things worse, but there’s no evidence to suggest that you will.
“There’s no right or wrong way to approach someone.
“Trust your instincts and remember that you chat with people every day. You may still be helping even if you don’t get a response right away.
“Simply talking to someone and interrupting their thoughts may be all it takes to encourage them to reach out for support.”