Volunteer river patrol group saves 300 from suicide

A suicide prevention group patrolling the River Shannon has saved almost 300 lives since setting up three years ago. And a reported 30 of those were children aged between 12 and 18.

The Corbett Suicide Prevention Patrol (CSPP), a voluntary organisation with 24 members, has made 275 interventions along the riverbank in Limerick city since 2012.

Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday night, CSPP units patrol between the New Bridge, Sarsfield Bridge, Thomond Bridge and Baal’s Bridge in the city centre to identify and provide support to those in distress and who may be contemplating suicide.

Of the 275 interventions made by the group over the past 36 months, 100 were physical interventions.

A reportshowed 180 of the suicide interventions were people between 18 and 30 years, while 40 were in the 30 to 40 age group; a further 15 in the 42 to 54 age group, and 10 between 54 and 66.

Volunteers say 60% of those stopped from entering the river were males. The youngest stopped from entering the river was 16 and the oldest was 65.

Last Christmas saw a peak in activity with 18 interventions between December 22 and January 2, with six alone on New Year’s Eve.

CSPP volunteers, all aged over 25, receive first-aid training, throw-bag training and must also attend an applied suicide intervention skills workshop to learn how to approach people who may be in distress.

“We had to physically stop a lot of people. It was tough,” CSPP chairman Mike Mulholland said. “Some of these interventions were cries for help and others were fuelled by drugs and alcohol but we also met people at the river who were distraught because they couldn’t put food on the table or buy presents for the kids.”

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