• Increase Text
  • High Contrast Mode

Bridgewatch – Making a difference and saving lives

Paul Maloney, Bridgewatch Coordinator, sheds light on the crucial mission of the organisation: preventing suicides on London's bridges.

Paul Maloney, Bridgewatch Coordinator, sheds light on the crucial mission of the organisation: preventing suicides on London’s bridges.

The World Health Organization estimates that over 700,000 people die by suicide annually, with many more attempting it. In the UK alone, over 5,000 suicides occur each year, with 115 happening weekly.

The impact is profound, affecting families, friends, and entire communities. Recognising the importance of early intervention, the Bridge Watch project was initiated, drawing inspiration from successful suicide prevention programs.

Bridge Watch, delivered by Ascension Trust and supported by City Bridge Foundation funding, aims to station trained volunteers on and around London’s bridges. These volunteers, collaborating closely with partners like the RNLI and emergency services, undergo comprehensive training on suicide awareness, active listening, and intervention. Equipped with skills and RNLI water safety training, they provide crucial support and intervention, aiming not only to prevent suicides but also to engage positively with individuals in distress.

The initiative emphasises understanding, empathy, and non-judgmental support, empowering volunteers to effectively guide individuals toward appropriate help. By fostering partnerships with various charitable organisations and emergency services, Bridge Watch aims to expand support networks and increase access to assistance.

The program’s visibility has sparked public discussions, raising awareness of suicide prevention strategies and prompting proactive engagement from the community. The pilot, launched in December 2023, has already seen significant interventions, leading to an increase in patrols.

Bridge Watch actively recruits volunteers and welcomes anyone interested in contributing to the program. If you’re interested, reach out to Bridgewatch@ascensiontrust.org.uk to get involved.
https://www.ascensiontrust.org.uk/bridge-watch/