Coastguard rescuers have been given invaluable training by an Exmouth-based suicide bereavement charity to help save people in their ‘darkest hour’. 

First responders from the emergency service – who frequently face those considering taking their own lives – benefitted from two days of teaching from Pete’s Dragons. 

The guidance was given to HM Coastguard rescue teams from Exmouth, Beer, Plymouth, Torbay, Teignmouth and Berry Head.  

“All too often, unfortunately, HM Coastguard are tasked to search for people who are despondent with suicidal tendencies,” said Exmouth-based senior coastal operations officer Sam Houston. 

“It is a very sad set of circumstances that we can face on a daily basis. 

“Suicide frequently presents itself as the only way out, however, it is a very permanent solution to a situation, that with the right help, may only be a temporary problem. 

“We were very lucky to be given ASIST training by Pete’s Dragons. 

“This training will give those of our officers that attended the tools to connect with people in their darkest hour, hopefully to see a little bit of light. 

“This will allow us time to put in place a plan, getting those in-need in contact with the right people to help them on a permanent basis. 

“These skills will prove invaluable to our teams both on a personal and professional basis.”

Pete’s Dragons CEO Alison Jordan said: “We were honoured to train with staff and volunteers from HM Coastguard, a group of dedicated and caring professionals. 

“Often they find themselves as the first people to reach out to those who may be thinking of taking their own lives.  

“We are proud to have been able to add to their toolbox of skills and to enhance their confidence around the subject which will help to increase the safety of Devon residents.  

“This training was made possible by funding from HM Treasury.”

Pete’s Dragons was awarded £80,000 in HM Treasury funding in November 2017 to roll out suicide first-aid training to emergency service personnel across the South West.

The charity currently provides bespoke suicide bereavement support to more than 300 people across Devon. 

It is also a market leader in suicide bereavement training.