When JP Attard set off for work one morning, he didn’t know he’d be stopping a man from ending his own life.
JP has worked for Toronto Transport Commission for more than 23 years, and in that time, he has saved six people from suicide.
On one occasion, he went viral, thanks to his unbelievable compassion.
JP was working at the Dundas station in Toronto, when he noticed a man sitting on the tracks.
Thinking quickly, he immediately got the power to the station turned off and went over to the man – encouraging him to stand up and walk towards him.
JP hugged the man and that emotional footage was soon posted online for the world to see.
The man, who was believed to be 23 at the time, was told by JP to ‘turn the negative into a positive’. With that JP and onlookers began chanting ‘I am strong’ to show their support.
JP told UNILAD, he’d asked the man if he was ‘having a bad day’.
He said the man, who was ‘shaking like a cat near water’ had explained he was on the track because he ‘wanted to hurt himself’ because he’d been having relationship problems.
That’s when I just embraced him and hugged him.
He also told the man he’d be his friend and mentor, telling him ‘It’s going to be ok’. JP said after a few minutes, the man’s eyes started to ‘light up again’, and they started talking about music, and doing breathing exercises.
To speak with someone immediately, contact Samaritans on 116 123. If life is in danger, call 999 or go directly to emergency services.
— Movember UK (@MovemberUK) September 10, 2018
Jeffrey Ribeiro, a witness who was on the scene, told the media he’d seen JP approach the man.
[JP] just kept on saying, ‘Don’t let go, keep on holding onto me.’ There was a point where he said, ‘Look me in the eyes, breathe in, breathe out. Calm down’.
It’s important to know people like JP are out there, and simply being kind and having compassion can save a life.
Because one person dies by suicide in the UK alone every 90 minutes. Globally, one person takes their own life every 40 seconds.
In 2017, 5,821 people died because of suicide in the UK, and the latest figures provided by the Office of National Statistics show 1,077 people in England took their own lives in the first quarter of 2018 alone.
That’s 12 people every day – and an estimated 20 times as many attempts.
Approximately 90 per cent of people who die by suicide have a mental health problem – whether it be diagnosed or undiagnosed – at the time of their death.
Ruth Sutherland, CEO of Samaritans told UNILAD the stigma around taking your own life has influenced coroners’ reporting of suicide – informed by the law but also by cultural, religious and social conventions – and created the notion that a verdict of suicide is something to be avoided.
There’s been a view that it’s somehow ‘kinder’ to record a verdict other than suicide. This compounds the stigma rather than challenges it.
Samaritans’ vision is that ‘fewer people die by suicide’. They say suicide is not inevitable; it is preventable.
While the causes of suicide are indeed complex,Samaritans say they know it is ‘both a gender and an inequality issue.’
Behind every statistic is an individual, a family and a community devastated by their loss.
Men are more likely to take their own lives, than women., statistics have found.
The Samaritans Suicide Statistics Report 2017 showed there were 6,639 suicides in the UK and Republic of Ireland in 2015 (4,997 were men), with the highest suicide rate being men aged 40 to 44.
Owen Sharpe, CEO of the Movember Foundation told UNILAD.
Suicide is the biggest killer of men aged 15 to 44 and as a preventable cause of death this is simply unacceptable.
We know that around 75 per cent of all suicides across the world are men and we are taking a stand to put an end to this problem.
At the Movember Foundation, we are empowering men worldwide with the tools and resources to be mentally healthy and well and navigate the tough times, surrounded by friends and family.
— Samaritans (@samaritans) September 13, 2018
The Movember Foundation said it’s as important to understand the signs when somebody is struggling, as it is in asking people to speak out when they’re suffering.
Some common signs that someone might be struggling includes a general sense that they are not their normal selves.
Some specific changes to look for can include feelings of sadness and hopelessness, increased stress, a diminished interest in the things and activities they normally enjoy (hobbies, activities, exercise, outings etc).
They could be either sleeping a lot or not very well. Changes in appetite and weight. The loss of a job, a significant relationship or a loved one. Risk taking behaviour such as increased drug or alcohol use.
Have you been affected by suicide? @SJMcDonn is conducting the biggest study on the emotional impact of suicide in the UK @OfficialUoM and they need your help. Fill out this anonymous survey. The more we know about suicide, the better we can prevent it.https://t.co/xsvtuWlOZt pic.twitter.com/7GKKyt1xNy
— UNILAD (@UNILAD) August 28, 2018
Samaritans highlighted what they felt needed to be done to bring the statistics down in their report.
We need to be better at identifying those most at risk and finding ways to reach them. Samaritans is committed to developing our work based on research and evidence so that we can better support those who need us and achieve our vision, that fewer people die by suicide.
We will be developing a range of new services in order to reach more vulnerable people struggling to cope, including through digital services and more outreach work. We will continue to work with leading academics in the field of suicide prevention, to better understand who is most at risk of suicide and how to prevent it.
There are many factors which contribute to suicide, and we need all parts of society working together to reduce it.
And following on from saving the lives of six people, JP decided to set up a group called the Rock Army on Facebook, and is on a mission to spread awareness around the world.
The group is for mental health and it’s growing quickly – and when you join the group, you become a part of the Rock Army family.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues, and want to speak to someone in confidence, please don’t suffer alone. Call Samaritans for free on their anonymous 24-hour phone line on 116 123.
In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255.
In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is on 13 11 14. Hotlines in other countries can be found at Suicide.org
Save a life. Take the free suicide prevention training provided by Zero Suicide Alliance today.