EVERYDAY LEGEND - The Man Who Prevented Hundreds of Suicides
By James Mills, Associate Partner & Mentorship Coach, Lighthouse International
It is estimated that globally, one million people die from suicide each year; which makes it one of the top 3 causes of death in males and females aged 15-44. One place where over 1,600 people have taken their lives is the iconic Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. When the bridge was opened in 1937 it was described by its chief engineer as "practically suicide-proof".
Kevin Briggs worked in the California Highway Patrol for more than 23 years and in his time was involved with hundreds of suicide calls whilst supervising this famous landmark. Through his efforts he saved hundreds of lives. There is an incredible amount we can learn from this man in his moving 14 minute TED Talk...
These lessons are ones we can apply in our lives to ensure that we are looking out for the people around us; especially those we care most about and appear to be struggling most with the challenges of life.
Never Assume You Know How Someone Feels
Through his experience and training, Mr Briggs offers some invaluable advice for helping anyone we may be concerned about.
"Don't argue, blame, or tell the person you know how they feel, because you probably don't. By just being there, you may just be the turning point that they need.
If you think someone is suicidal, don't be afraid to confront them and ask the question. One way of asking them the question is like this: "Others in similar circumstances have thought about ending their life; have you had these thoughts?" Confronting the person head-on may just save their life and be the turning point for them."
Listening Can Save Lives
Kevin Briggs shared the story of a young man who he stopped from jumping off the bridge.
"When Kevin came back over, I congratulated him. "This is a new beginning, a new life." But I asked him, "What was it that made you come back and give hope and life another chance?" And you know what he told me? He said, "You listened. You let me speak, and you just listened."
We All Need a Sense of Hope
When we have a sense of hope, of possibility and of belief, it is incredible what we can achieve. This contrasts with the warning signs that Kevin Briggs advises we look out for.
"Some other signs to look for: hopelessness, believing that things are terrible and never going to get better; helplessness, believing that there is nothing that you can do about it; recent social withdrawal; and a loss of interest in life."
Legends are definitely not exempt from these challenges and there have been many who have attempted suicide as this article reveals.
If you have personally experienced a difficult time, or you know someone close to you who is struggling, please feel free to get in touch with one of the Legends Report team. Some of our team have experience helping people facing these kinds of difficult issues, and if we can't help, we will happily refer you to a trusted professional who can.
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¹The Calm Zone