And finally… Council joiner saves man from brink of suicide



A West Dunbartonshire Council joiner is raising awareness of male mental health after saving a man from the brink of suicide.   

Drew Smith, his girlfriend Nicola Ferguson, and her son Mason during one of the 5k walks

Drew Smith, 28, was walking in Balloch with his girlfriend when they spotted the man standing at the edge of the bridge.

Quick-thinking Drew leapt over the barrier and managed to pull him down, before contacting the emergency services.

The couple have met up with the man a number of times since, and continue to offer him friendship and support to recover from the experience.

The incident inspired them to raise money for men’s mental health charity Men Matter, by running and walking 5k a day for a month.

Talking about the experience, Drew said he is just thankful that they were there to help the man.

He said: “I threw my arms round him, pulled him down and told him that it didn’t need to be as bad as this, no matter what he had been going through.

“I’m glad we were there to help and we have been able to offer him our friendship since then. I’ve told him any time he needs to talk he can call my mobile, and we have gone over to visit him a few times.

“I know how he feels because I have had my own struggles and times where I felt everything was going wrong. I’m glad I was able to tell him that things can get better, and remind him to keep going.”

Drew said he initially didn’t believe that the man could be suicidal, which he put down to the stigma that exists around men’s mental health.

He said: “The male mentality is that you should be tough and not show emotion and I think that’s why I didn’t think he was about to jump at first, I told myself he was looking at the boats at first.

“It was my girlfriend who told me to go and check on him, and I’m so glad she did.

“There is such a stigma around men’s mental health, and that’s why we thought it was so important to raise awareness and do something that reminded everyone – and men in particular - that it’s okay to not be okay and it’s good to ask for help.

“We chose to walk or run 5k a day for the month of September because we thought that might encourage anyone who is having a difficult time with mental health issues to get out there. Walking and running does clear your head and give you space to think.”
The couple also abstained from alcohol throughout the month as part of the challenge.

Drew said: “We are raising money for Men Matter, a small charity based in Drumchapel. They are a voluntary organisation, and the people who run it are phenomenal guys, doing a great a job to support men who might be struggling.

“Walking or running 5k a day was a challenge for us, my legs are knackered and towards the end of the month it was a bit of slug, but it was so worth it raise some money to help the charity continue their good work. They  deserve every penny they get.”

Drew’s fundraising page is still accepting donations.