Brandon Police just posted an open letter on Facebook, by an officer who intervened with a teen in foster care, who wanted to die by suicide. Below is the powerful letter, which shows how important an intervention – and compassion – like this can be in someone’s life. And while interventions are key, what other proactive steps can be taken to help someone before they get to this point? Find out after 2:30pm CT when we talk to a mental health professional.
The Brandon Police Service received a report Monday morning about a teen boy who had left his foster care residence and had made some suicidal comments about possibly heading to a nearby bridge. Sgt Dupuis, the street supervisor for B platoon in the BPS Patrol Section, was one of the members to respond to the call. The actions that Sgt Dupuis would take resulted in locating the youth and averted what could have been a tragic event. Here is his letter:
I attended to the area and began searching. I drove from where the call originated to the Daly Overpass on the hopes of locating the subject prior to him getting on the bridge.
I located the subject on the Daly Overpass. When I first saw him he was leaning on the railing looking down at the tracks. I don’t know if he even knew I was stopped on the bridge at that point. Due to the barrier that separates traffic from pedestrians, I considered driving to the bottom of the bridge and walking up to speak with him, however quickly ruled that out as I believed that would take too much time and wanted to make contact with him immediately. I exited the cruiser and called out his name. He looked back at me and when I saw the look on his face I knew instantly this was not a ‘cry for attention’ but rather a kid who needed help. He was clearly upset and had a look of defeat. I stated “I know you don’t want to do this”. He stated that no one cares, no one would miss him and it is really hard. I asked him to climb over the barrier and talk to me on the road. He didn’t want to do that. I then asked him to continue to focus on me and we could figure this our together. I heard a member attempting to contact me on the radio asking if we should shut traffic down on the bridge. I chose not to answer the radio and keep all my attention on the subject. I wanted to make it clear to him that I was there to listen to what he had to say.
He told me that it would be easiest if he just jumped off. I explained that if he makes that decision there is no coming back from it. “Right now you have control over your options, if you jump off there are no more options that you can control. You could die, or you could end up paralyzed and in a wheel chair for the rest of your life and you can’t control that outcome.”
He was concerned about getting breached as he was on a court ordered curfew. Once he stated that I then knew he was seriously considering walking away from this. I told him that we weren’t here for the breach and we were there to help him. I further stated that we could discuss the breach once he climbed over the barrier. He had a shoe box with him that was sitting on the sidewalk. I asked him to hand it to me. He didn’t want to do that so he rested it on the barrier and I retrieved it. (the shoebox contained personal memorabilia). I think he was afraid that I was going to grab a hold of him. After that I told him once again that I know he didn’t want to do this and to just climb over and we could begin to get him the help he needs. At that point he climbed over the barrier.
We decided not charge him with the curfew breach. We felt that would be an inappropriate response to this situation. He did not breach to go party or hang out with friends, he breached his curfew because he hit rock bottom.
The Police Service would like to publicly acknowledge the good work in this incident by Sgt Dupuis and all the members of B platoon in resolving a very serious incident.
Should you need help or know someone who does, please contact:
|Klinic Crisis Line||204-786-8686
|Manitoba Suicide Line||1-877-435-7170(1-877-HELP170)|
|Kids Help Phone
(national line available to Manitoba Youth)