TalkRadio presenter praised for saving Plymouth man’s life
Radio host Iain Lee kept a suicidal caller to his show on the line for half an hour while emergency services tracked him down after he revealed he had taken an overdose.
The former I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here! contestant worked out where the caller, known only as “Chris”, was by asking him a series of questions after he told him he had taken a cocktail of drugs.
The caller, who was incoherent and slurring his words, saying he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, told Lee he was in the street near a nightclub, adding: “I do want to die, Iain.”
Comedian Lee, 45, who regularly talks about his own mental health struggles, including how he recently experienced suicidal thoughts after coming off antidepressant medication, replied: “Shut up, man, I know you want to die, brother, but I love you. I love you. You may want to die, but we can talk about that tomorrow.”
While keeping him talking and working out his whereabouts and appearance, Lee’s producer fed details to the emergency services who raced to help him.
The caller, who said he was nearly 60 and had been listening to Lee’s show for around a year, said he was near a nightclub in Plymouth. At points during the call before Christmas, Chris fell silent, and Lee grew increasingly concerned for his safety. “Where’s this bloody ambulance? Jesus, come on,” Lee said during the exchange.
The host, speaking on his Late Night Alternative show on TalkRadio, added: “Whatever happened, I promise you it can be sorted. I guarantee that whatever has happened, it can be sorted out. It might not be easy.”
“This is horrendous,” Lee said at one point near the end of the call after the line went silent again.
“Can anyone hear me? Hello, can anyone hear me?” After he heard murmuring on the line, Lee continued: “Chris, you’re still alive! Thank Christ.”
After the caller confirmed that he could hear Lee, the host replied: “Yes, brother. The whole country is punching the air. We lost you for about 10 minutes, man.”
Eventually, after 27 minutes, police confirmed to Lee that they had found the man. Lee was heard breaking down in tears at the news.
Devon and Cornwall police inspector Kevin Morley thanked Lee in a tweet, adding: “My officers that attended and are now dealing with the caller. This is a very typical call for us sadly and December is a hard month for many. We will do our best to direct him to long-term support.”