Published on: 21st December 2023

If you encountered someone in danger or experiencing a mental health crisis, would you know what to do?

Emma NazurallyEmma Nazurally, director of operations for our south network, recently found herself in this exact situation outside of work when on her way home.

In the dark and torrential rain, Emma noticed an ambulance cordoning off the road where someone was standing on the wrong side of a bridge.

Luckily as Emma is a trained mental health nurse, she was able to stop an offer support to the gentleman and paramedics.

The man was feeling low and had lots of stresses in his life, which led him to this point.

Fortunately, Emma being there to listen, validate his feelings, and talk through options of support ultimately helped him down from that vulnerable place - so he could receive further support.

But what if you saw someone at risk, without anyone else there to help? Emma has shared this advice:

"The first and most important thing is to immediately call 999 for professional help. Don’t ever assume that someone else will have made that call.

“Once that help is on the way, then if you feel able, you might want to call out to the person to say hello and share your name – taking care not to frighten them.

“But only do so if you feel able, don’t ever put yourself in a position where you feel vulnerable.

“Once you’ve introduced yourself, you might want to ask permission to move closer and let them know you’re there if they want to talk.

“The important thing is just being kind and human, listening, validating things which sound difficult and offering reassurance.

“You could ask if they have any family around, make general conversation, and say you will stay with them until the professional help arrives.

“But calling that professional help is always the first step – and keeping yourself safe too.

For anyone that’s struggling or needs more advice, there are 24/7 crisis mental health helplines available to support you. If you live in Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Stockport, Tameside and Glossop, you can call Pennine Care’s for free on 0800 014 9995