Ambulance worker covers bridges with anti-suicide notes after rise in crisis calls

An emergency call handler is plastering bridges with anti-suicide notes in a desperate bid to save lives.

Thomas Valentine has been attaching poignant notes to make vulnerable people ‘think twice’ about making a ‘permanent solution to a temporary problem’.

The 21-year-old ambulance worker was disturbed by all the calls he was getting at work and decided to take matters into his own hands with his homemade posters, the Daily Record reports.

Thomas, from Falkirk, who struggles with borderline personality disorder said he knows what it is like to ‘feel so low’ and wanted to help others in ‘crisis’.

He was also left alarmed after noticing a spike in suicide calls at work prompting him to take action.

Now he is determined to reduce the mental health stigma and let people know they have options.

The notes have a list of hotline numbers and beg people to ‘take a step back’ and ask for help.

He said: “I work as an emergency call handler for the Scottish Ambulance and couldn’t believe the spike in suicide calls.

“It was a real eye opener for me and I wanted to do something about it.

“I have lost family to suicide and I myself have struggled with my mental health recently so I know what it is like to feel so low.

“I have a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder and I’ve personally been through challenging times with my mental health in recent months and years so I can certainly relate to how people in crisis may be feeling and any support at that time is crucial.

“I decided to make the posters with information to let people know there are services and help out there.

“This is just something small and simple but if someone sees it it could make them think twice.

“If what I’ve created only saves one life, then what I’ve done has been worth it, that’s my aim, to save lives, as one death to suicide is to many.”

Thomas is focusing his posters in the Forth Valley area but is hoping more people will join him and put posters around their own areas.

He is urging people to reach out and ask him for supplies to print out to help spread the word.

The ambulance worker explained: “I set out with the aim that I may be able to help someone in need across Falkirk or surrounding areas.

“I believe it will be worth my time and effort.

“Hopefully if people see these and they are at that point then they’ll step back, make that call and are given the appropriate support.

“We need to reduce the stigma and for people to know that it is ok to not be ok and it’s ok to tell people exactly how you are feeling and reach out as early as possible before it’s too late.

“There’s a common myth that talking about suicide is a bad idea, as it may give someone the idea to take their own life, this is not considered fact but, by asking someone directly about suicide, as well as being direct you are giving them the opportunity to tell you how they are feeling and if they are suicidal.

“People who have felt suicidal often say how it was a huge relief to be able to talk about how they were feeling when asked.

“Anyone can contact me at [email protected] to request posters to place in their area.

“I will send them the materials, taking a note of the locations so I can go and replace them when they become worn through time.”