This short article was sent into us by someone who works in an ambulance Emergency Operations Centre.
The following gives an insight into the ‘behind the scenes’ actions which are put into place when somebody calls 999 if, for example, they are experiencing a mental health related crises.
“I currently work in the ________ Call centre, we regularly get calls regarding suicide calls and mental health. Whilst I know some people that I have spoken to will still go ahead and self-harm I live for the moments when someone says ‘thank you’ and that I saved their life.
I recently had a caller when working a night shift. He was a frequent caller phoning up feeling suicidal. Our initial interaction started off not very good with him shouting and being abusive saying the service doesn’t help him.
He then hung up the phone call, I then proceeded to ring him back expecting to get more abuse and the phone call hung up once more. To my surprise when I contacted him the second time he was like a different person. He said I was the first call taker in years of calling that had called him back.
Unfortunately, once someone calls a certain amount of times about similar things mainly related to mental health, a plan is normally created so that when they next phone the caller can help them get the right care without having to go through a complete triage with the person.
From the previous calls before it looked like the large majority of calls he had made had gone to a management plan and had therefore not been referred to the mental health team, but a Team Leader in the service.
After noting down his concerns regarding his mental health for his suicide threats and self-harm attempts, I then proceeded to arrange help for him. I arranged an ambulance to be dispatched since with the suicide attempt he would need someone to check to see if he was okay.
As I was ending the call he asked my name which I gave him and stated that I had saved his life, for the rest of my shift that stuck with me.
The point of this article is to get in contact if you need help – its not a weakness to contact us.
This person had been calling multiple times and each time since the call handler could not manage the caller due to being abusive they would flag it and put it through to management.
I am happy to say that he got the correct help and as a result will mean he will hopefully in the future, be less abusive with the call takers, since this time he got the correct help”.