Ex-London Underground worker, 50, whose life was saved by radio presenter Iain Lee when he phoned into the show after taking an overdose reveals he has been struggling since he saw a man killed by a train
- Iain Lee kept Chris on the phone for 30 minutes live on air before Christmas
- He told the radio host he had taken an overdose and was dying in the street
- Chris, 50, who lives in Cornwall, says he still can’t see how to escape his demons
- The former Tube driver said he started drinking after seeing a lifeless body
- Lee has been thanked by police who were able to locate the man and save his life
A suicidal man whose life was saved by a radio DJ when he called a national radio show has opened up about his battle with mental health issues and alcoholism after seeing a dead body on the tracks.
Chris was slumped in a doorway in Plymouth when he called TalkRADIO host Iain Lee, who kept him on the phone for 30 minutes as he waited for emergency services to arrive.
The 50-year-old, who lives in south east Cornwall, has said he still can’t see a way to escape his demons.
The former London Underground worker revealed he has struggled since seeing a lifeless body on the train tracks when he worked as a station manager in the West End.
On The Late Night Alternative Show with Iain Lee last night Chris said he had tried to take his own life three times in the three years he has lived in Cornwall.
He said: ‘I saw that person on the track lying in front of the train completely lifeless… It had such a detrimental affect on me that I just started drinking heavily. I was drinking a bottle of vodka a day.’
He believes he would have been sectioned if he was still living in London, but that Cornwall Council doesn’t have the resources to look after him.
He said: ‘To be honest I know I need help but Cornwall Council is so severely stretched for cash that while ordinarily in London you are committed or sectioned… in Cornwall they send you home, they send their little treatment team round for three days and you are left alone to fight your demons.
‘And I am fighting my demons and I can see any way out of that other than suicide.
‘I am just going to be a drain on society, I am going to be a drain on everybody.’
Last night speaking to Mr Lee on air again, this time in Cornwall with a carer present, he described the incident in London that had first caused his mental health breakdown.
‘I was witness to a person under a train,’ he said.
‘That person was around mid 20s or early 30s – which is the age of my eldest son.
‘I saw that person on the track lying in front of the train completely lifeless… That was the first time I had ever been involved in anything like that.
‘It had such a detrimental affect on me that I just started drinking heavily. I was drinking a bottle of vodka a day.’
He was eventually dismissed by London Underground and his marriage broke down and he moved to Cornwall. He says his biggest fear is not being able to see his 11-year-old daughter again.
Mr Lee was praised for his compassion when Chris called on December 19 during a segment about mental health. He continued talking to him on air for 30 minutes after he called to say he had taken an overdose.
Chris said he was ‘lying in the street, dying’ in Plymouth, Devon.
Lee, who starred in last year’s I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here, kept him talking and was able to get a description of where he was, while his producer Kath contacted emergency services.
Footage shows the moment Iain Lee took a call from a man who had taken an overdose
The talkRadio host alerted the emergency services who were able to save the man’s life
Iain, 45, who hosts a show called Late Night Alternative between 10pm and 1am, tweeted after the incident on Wednesday: ‘Tonight we took a call from a man who had taken an overdose. He was lying in a street in Plymouth, dying.
‘We managed to keep him online, get a description of what he looked like and was wearing, work out where he was and send an ambulance and police to him. Kept him on the phone for 30 minutes while he got harder to understand.
The presenter has since spoken out about the ‘horrible’ experience
‘Long periods of silence where I thought he’d died. f**k, that was intense and upsetting.
‘Thanks for your kind words. I really hope he makes it.’
Speaking about the ‘horrible’ experience, the radio and TV star added: ‘He phoned up, he was on the line for a while; we were dealing with someone else in a distressing situation at the time.
‘He (Chris) was on the phone and I couldn’t understand what he was saying. We get some calls from people with Parkinson’s Disease, with MS, different things.
‘So to get a call where you can’t understand someone, it’s not uncommon for us.
‘Quite early on, I said; ‘I can’t understand you mate.’ And he said, ‘I have taken an overdose.’
Iain said he feared the man would die on air because there were prolonged periods of silence during the half hour call
‘I was able to establish, his speech wasn’t because of Parkinson’s, it was the induced thing.’
Iain said he feared Chris would die on air because there were prolonged periods of silence during the 30 minute call. But he managed to retrieve his name, age and location, which was outside a nightclub.
Iain added: ‘I have been suicidal in the past – I have never taken it as far as he did. He was in such a terrible state.
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‘I just kept him talking. Initially, he said he didn’t know where he was, what was going on, he just said, he wanted to die.
‘I managed to get enough (detail) from him…he kept talking about a nightclub and then we established he was right opposite the nightclub.
‘It was very confusing. I kept him talking for probably half an hour. I thought he had died because he would go silent for five or 10 minutes. It was horrible.’
Iain Lee (pictured) kept the caller talking on talkRADIO while his producer contacted emergency services
The radio host took to Twitter to talk about the call-in and urge others to seek help
Devon and Cornwall Police’s Inspector Kevin Morley tweeted to thank Iain for what he had done.
He added: ‘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. We all have a role to play in supporting those that are struggling.’
Iain has previously been open about his own battles with mental health and depression, revealing he once ‘felt suicidal.’
After the incident people took to social media to praise the DJ for his actions.
- For confidential support call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritans branch, or see samaritans.org for details.
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