A radio DJ had saved the life of a suicidal man after keeping him talking live on air for almost 30 minutes while police tried to find him.
British DJ Iain Lee, who presents the Late Night Alternative show on the United Kingdom’s national talkRADIO station, took a call late on Wednesday night from a man who only identified himself as Chris. He told the radio host that he had taken an overdose and was “lying in a street in Plymouth, dying”, according to the Independent.
Lee, who has spoken publically about his own mental health problems and admitted suffering from suicidal thoughts after coming off anti-depressants himself, tried to keep the man talking while his producer contacted the emergency services.
But with little information to go on, the search for Chris took some time. While the hunt was on, Lee kept the man talking and get more information from him.
Chris told Iain Lee that he was almost 60-years-old and suffering from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. He also said that he was lying close to a nightclub. At times he words became slurred and incoherent and at one point he exclaimed that he doesn’t want to die. Lee stayed calm and offered the man continual words of reassurance.
“Chris, I love you brother, you deserve better than this. You deserve better than this, and whatever has happened, I promise you it can be sorted. I guarantee that whatever has happened, it can be sorted out. It might not be easy, but it can be sorted, I promise you. It is better than you doing this.”
Several times during the call, Chris stopped talking, leaving Lee and other listeners extremely concerned for his safety. When he spoke on air again, there was a huge sense of relief, with Lee on one occasion saying, “Yes, brother. The whole country is punching the air. We lost you for about 10 minutes, man.”
About 27 minutes after the call began, a policeman came on the line to tell Lee that they had found the man and he was receiving urgent medical attention. The DJ broke down on air after hearing the news. Lee then took to Twitter after his show to tell followers what happened.
“We managed to keep him online, get a description of what he looked like and was wearing, work out where he was and send an ambulance and police to him,” he explained.
“Kept him on the phone for 30 minutes while he got harder to understand. Long periods of silence where I thought he’d died. F***, that was intense and upsetting. Thanks for your kind words. I really hope he makes it.”
Lee has received widespread praise for his actions with one Twitter account known as Police Community simply saying, “last night, a DJ saved a life.”
Shortly after Lee’s show ended, Inspector Kev Morley from the Devon and Cornwall Police took to Twitter to update users on Chris’ condition.
“My officers that attended and are now dealing with the caller,” he tweeted.
“This is a very typical call for us sadly and December is a hard month for many. We will do our best to direct him to long term [sic] support.”
If you are affected by any of the issues in this story, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “help” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741, or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.