IRELAND: Taxi Watch: Suicide Prevention Drive that Saved 200 Lives

November 17, 2017

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News

BBC News

A group of taxi drivers in Kilkenny, Ireland are helping to prevent suicide in their community. Founded by taxi driver and suicide attempt survivor Derek Devoy, the Taxi Watch initiative trains taxi drivers how to identify and assist people in distress. Since its founding in 2014, Taxi Watch volunteers have intervened in nearly 200 suicide attempts and helped connect hundreds of people with counseling. A similar program in Londonderry also trains taxi drivers in life-saving techniques, such as how to use a throwline to rescue someone from drowning. Currently, there are about 200 trained Taxi Watch volunteers in Ireland, with possible plans to replicate the program in Northern Ireland. Kilkenny Taxi Watch founder Derek Devoy draws from his own history of depression to connect with those who are struggling, and said that his personal experience has made him a more effective counselor. “People want to know that you’ve gone through it,” he said. “They don’t want to talk to professors. You need people who have been there—and come out the other side—to speak out.”

Spark Extra! Learn more about Taxi Watch.