STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. — First responders play a vital role when answering calls from people during a vulnerable time and in an emergency, especially suicide-related ones.
This one local dispatcher showed compassion to a caller who almost made a life-changing decision.
A Stafford County dispatcher is being praised for calming a distraught resident from attempting to use a gun to shoot himself.
On Sunday, Jan. 22, the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from a man who was suffering from a mental health crisis around 8:15 p.m.
Assistant Supervisor S. Palau with the Emergency Communications Center picked up the despondent call and heard a man crying on the phone. According to the Office of Stafford County Sheriff, Palau learned the man was upset over several issues and had a loaded gun to his head.
In the next six minutes, Palau used ‘compassion’ and ‘empathy’ to try to get the man to put down the weapon, the sheriff's office said in a statement. After another seven minutes passed, Palau persuaded the man to walk out of his home - unarmed - to deputies waiting for him outside. The deputies took the man to the hospital for evaluation.
The Office of Stafford County Sheriff acknowledges Palau for her dedication to helping the community and her exemplary response.
If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255). You can also text a crisis counselor by messaging the Crisis Text Line at 741741. It is free, available 24/7, and confidential.