Free life-saving suicide intervention and prevention training is being offered to taxi drivers in Eastbourne and Seaford.
Founded by Irish taxi driver Derek Devoy in 2014, the Taxi Watch programme teaches professional drivers how to spot the signs of a person suffering through a suicide crisis, how to react, and how to get the person to safety.
On his first night back driving his taxi after struggling with his own mental health and attempting to take his own life, Derek came across a man in distress on a bridge.
Derek said: “I stopped and talked to him, and he told me he wanted to die as he was going through a repossession order. Later that same night, I encountered another man in distress. Thankfully due to my own experiences, I was able to communicate with them in a somewhat meaningful way.
“But I realised that surely other drivers were similarly coming across people struggling. It led me to think that perhaps not every driver would know what to do or say in such a scenario, so the Taxi Watch idea was born.”
The Taxi Watch training course, which is now run by suicide prevention and awareness charity Talk To Tom, is a specially adapted version of the award-winning suicide prevention programme QPR. QPR stands for Question, Persuade, and Refer – the three simple steps anyone can learn to help save a life from suicide.
The county council is one of the first local authorities in the country to offer local drivers this training.
Derek adds: “Without question, this will save lives in East Sussex, just as it has already saved hundreds of lives in Ireland.”
Training sessions will be held at the Kings Centre, Eastbourne on Tuesday, May 24; Wednesday, May 25; Friday, May 27; and Saturday, May 28. A further session will be held on Thursday, May 26 at Seaford Golf Course.
TO BOOK YOUR FREE PLACE: Simply click on the link for the date you would like and book. The training runs from 9.15am to 2.30pm.