An offensive message was left on suicide prevention volunteers’ car window moments after they helped a man to safety.
The message, which was left at 10.20pm yesterday (August 16), read: “Pretentious t***! Who’s even going to kill themselves at a gym!! (W*****).”
It came immediately after six members of the team had spent about two hours in Clifton assisting a man who said he was on the brink of taking his own life.
Volunteer John Mills said: “We were having a 10-minute break during an eight-hour shift.
“Breaks are important because sometimes you need to talk about things you see on patrol. We don’t want volunteers leaving at the end of a night traumatised by what they have seen.
“We had come across a man who was having a really difficult time, and talked to him for a couple of hours. We’d waited until he was picked up by a family member.
“Afterwards we decided to have a break to talk about it. Three of us went into the Miss Millie’s takeaway and three went into the gym, which we use as a meeting space.”
Following their break, Mr Mills, 36, came out to the car, which has the charity’s name on it, and saw the note had been left.
The dad-of-two, from Kingswood, said: “I don’t understand the mentality of that person. They are obviously having a rough time, to take their frustrations out on us, which is a shame.
“What does that person even know about the situation? What if there had been a concern for welfare incident in the gym?
“They had no idea. It was quite upsetting to see.”
He revealed this is not the first time CSPB has received abuse in the 11 months he has been volunteering with the group, despite them having assisted more than 100 vulnerable people in that time.
Mr Mills said: “The fire service has had a 70 per cent drop in call-outs to the area in that time. We have worked really hard.”
He spoke about how the group supported the man whose welfare was at risk shortly before the note was left.
“He’d had a few drinks and he was quite emotional and upset,” Mr Mills said.
“We chatted for a couple of hours, until he was picked up by a member of family.”
After their break, the volunteers continued their patrol until 1am, but there were no further incidents.
When Mr Mills posted a picture of the note on Facebook, there was an outpouring of support for the volunteers, as comments praised the “amazing job” they do.
“It was quite humbling,” Mr Mills said. “I am always very humbled by the attitude of people in Bristol to what we do.”
Asked what inspired him to join the group, he replied: “I know how people feel in that situation.
“I have had mental health issues in the past, and I attempted to take my own life.
“I spent a year and a half in recovery, and decided I wanted to do something to help other people with what I have been through.”
For more information about the group or to get involved with volunteering, visit www.cspbristol.co.uk.
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