A Victorian author credits a suicide awareness workshop with helping her save a person in distress on a bridge in Victoria.
“I cry when I think about this incident and how I managed to save a life that day,” said Alison Perry-Davies. “I’m always amazed that I was in the right place at the right time.”
Perry-Davies, 62, is a former disability case manager for the BC Aboriginal Network. She is also the author of three books.
As a military spouse, Perry-Davies heard about the Mental Health and Suicide Awareness Workshop offered by PSP Health Promotions. What she learned in the workshop was crucial that day, she said.
According Victoria-style Police Department spokesperson Bowen Osoko, Alison Perry-Davies and Kate Roland were crossing a local bridge when they encountered a person in distress. They both approached the person and, based in part on previous training and experience, were able to help defuse the situation and then provide care and comfort until officers arrived and brought the person for medical attention, Osoko said.
Following the incident, the Victoria Police Service presented Perry-Davies and Roland with a civic service award during a ceremony at police headquarters on June 23. The award recognizes outstanding service to the communities of Esquimalt and Victoria. The award and commemorative plaque were presented to Perry-Davies and Roland by Deputy Chief Colin Watson.
Skills that save
PSP Health Promotion Director Maryse Neilson said the Mental Health and Suicide Awareness Workshop is a suicide first aid course.
“It’s incredibly heartwarming to hear that Alison enjoyed the workshop so much and used the skills she learned,” Neilson said. “I’m so grateful that she found herself on that bridge.”
The course teaches participants about the Mental Health Continuum; how to watch and listen for signs of suicide; how to ask the person at risk if they are thinking about suicide; and how to escort them to safety. Students then practice their skills in role play.
The Perry-Davies role-playing game involved an individual on a bridge.
“This class really works,” she said. “They will go a long way in identifying warning signs and defusing situations for people looking to end their lives.”
Perry-Davies encourages others to take the course as well, saying it made all the difference that day.