Radio host Iain Lee keeps suicidal caller on the line for half an hour until ambulance arrives

A man identified as Chris called during Lee's talkRADIO show and said he had taken an overdose

Clémence Michallon
New York
Thursday 20 December 2018 22:26 GMT
talkRADIO host Iain Lee saves life of suicidal man live on air

Radio host Iain Lee has been credited with helping save a suicidal man's life by keeping him on the phone for 30 minutes until an ambulance arrived.

The man, identified only as Chris, called during Lee's talkRADIO show on Wednesday and said he had taken an overdose.

Lee, who appeared on I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! last year, said the man was "lying in a street in Plymouth, dying" at the time of the call.

Chris, who said he was almost 59 and suffering from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, explained he was close to a nightclub and told Lee: "I don't want to die, Iain".

Lee, 45, has previously discussed his own mental health struggles and explained he has suffered from suicidal thoughts while coming off anti-depressants.

The radio host spoke to Chris while emergency services worked to track down the caller, telling him at one point: “Shut up, man... I love you. You may want to die, but we can talk about that tomorrow.”

Meanwhile, producers gave emergency services details of Chris's appearance and location, helping them assist the caller as promptly as possible.

The man stopped talking at several points during the call, causing Lee to become increasingly worried about the caller's safety.

Lee sounded clearly relieved when Chris came back on the line, at one point telling him: “Yes, brother. The whole country is punching the air. We lost you for about 10 minutes, man.”

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Police told Lee after 27 minutes that they had located the caller.

Lee tweeted after the incident: "Tonight we took a call from a man who had taken an overdose. He was lying in a street in Plymouth, dying. We managed to keep him online, get a description of what he looked like and was wearing, work out where he was and send an ambulance and police to him.

"Kept him on the phone for 30 minutes while he got harder to understand. Long periods of silence where I thought he'd died. F***, that was intense and upsetting. Thanks for your kind words. I really hope he makes it."

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On Thursday, Lee shared another update, writing: "Thanks everyone for your kind words. Been an odd day for so many reasons. I really appreciate your kind words."

He planned to be back on the air at 10pm.

The ambulance service said that the caller was taken to the hospital for further treatment.

For confidential support in the UK, contact the Samaritans at 116 123.

In the US, contact the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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