An emergency call handler who works for the Scottish Ambulance Service has launched a campaign, in his own time, to stop people from taking their own lives by putting signs offering support on bridges in Forth Valley.
21-year-old Thomas Valentine started the potentially life-saving campaign following his struggles with mental health over the years, which have seen him attempt to take his own life.
Thomas has worked for the Scottish Ambulance Service for the last four years.
He decided to take action and raise awareness after dealing with many 999 calls made by people who have threatened to take their own lives.
Thomas has put up signs on bridges across Forth Valley, including in Stirling and Cambusbarron.
‘Are you feeling down? Is something getting to you? Want someone to speak to? You are not alone.
‘There are people to help you! Please call any of the numbers below. Emergency services on 999. Samaritans Scotland on 116 123. Breathing Space on 0800 83 85 87. NHS 24 on 111. Please do not suffer alone.
‘It’s ok to not be ok.’
Thomas launched the campaign on his Facebook page. As a result, people from across Scotland have already reached out to him, offering to put some of his posters in place at locations in their area.
Thomas was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder two years ago and said that he has made several attempts to take his own life, the latest being as recently as February.
Thomas experienced childhood trauma and was placed in foster care.
Launching his campaign this week, he said: “I strongly encourage raising awareness around mental health and suicide prevention.
“Suicide rates are rapidly increasing, so it’s important we try to reduce this.
“Recently I’ve put together a sheet with contact information for free mental health support services. This is aimed at those who may be struggling with their mental health and or in crisis.
“Along with the poster I’ve created a number of hearts which contain some short suicide prevention messages or in other words some uplifting messages.
“Now that these are printed, I have been in the process of putting these up around known places that suicide has occurred or may occur but also at other public places. My plan is to continue putting these up over the next week.
“I set out with the aim that I may be able to help someone. I believe it will be worth my time and effort”.
Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 116 123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mental Health Charity’ Mind’ also operate a mental health helpline for members of the emergency services.
To make contact with a member of their team, call 0300 123 3393.
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