A North Lanarkshire taxi company has signed up to a campaign which aims to reduce the number of people taking their own lives.
According to the Daily Record, drivers from Chapelhall-based Penny Cars have begun attending classes which will teach them to spot suicidal tendencies in their customers.
Around 20 cabbies took part in stage one of Suicide Prevention, organised by North Lanarkshire Council’s social work department.
Branch boss Kenny Wade said that his team are now keen to learn more in a bid to help people who are struggling with personal issues.
He added: “There is an alarmingly high number of suicides in North Lanarkshire, especially in young males. They often occur late at night or after the consumption of alcohol. This means that on many occasions, the last person to speak to someone who is planning on committing suicide is a taxi driver.
“Because of this we want all of our drivers to be trained in how to spot the signs of someone who is struggling in that sense. The suicide prevention course does this and teaches how to notice when someone seems particularly down or is acting strangely.
“It’s a common thing in this day and age and as we pick up around 50,000 customers every week, we want to help prevent this happening as often as it presently is.”
Penny Cars’ director Stephen Malcolm was the driving force behind his drivers’ involvement.
Kenny added: “We all thought it was a great idea and the course itself was very interesting.
“We’re proud of our drivers and being able to help our community reduce what has become such a horrible epidemic.
“Our drivers have responded really well to this and we’re now waiting on dates to be confirmed for more to take part.”
Lynne MacDonald, suicide prevention lead with North Lanarkshire Council, said: “Suicide devastates lives and communities every day of every week. The figures are shocking and we need to do more about it. We recently launched a new text alert system after discussions with our target audience – young men.
“Our RU THAT GUY campaign aims to encourage people to ‘be that person’ who will text or phone their friends, maybe after a night out, maybe after a tough week or just when they suspect they aren’t themselves.
“Just one simple text could make all the difference to someone who needs help.”