herald

Friday 21 November 2014

FM104 team to get training to deal with suicide calls

A leading media firm is in talks with FM104 to provide training on dealing with suicidal phone calls.

The National Media Monitoring Programme for Mental Health and Suicide confirmed it has set up a meeting with the radio station about providing training to the Phoneshow team.

The radio station was inundated with complaints about its handling of a distressed caller who threatened to take his own life live on air.

Media firm Headline said the station is "very welcome to the idea of training".

The workshop would provide the team with guidelines and best practice for covering suicide and mental health issues

"Headline is happy to provide training to the Phoneshow team on best practice and policy when covering these important issues," Sorcha Lowry, media project officer with Headline said.

On Thursday night a man named Jay sparked a major garda operation after he told the Dublin station that he planned to throw himself off Loughlinstown Bridge in south Dublin.

The call, which lasted for almost an hour, was aired on the FM104 Phoneshow.

Gardai managed to persuade Jay to climb down in the early hours of the morning.

Listeners were horrified when the heard the man angrily shout at gardai: "Get off the bridge".

Presenter Jeremy Dixon admitted during the controversial show he was "not qualified to deal with this".

Dublin TD Finian McGrath described the station's actions as "grossly irresponsible".

Dave Kelly, programme director with FM104, has defended the show's actions.

"This was a very highly charged emotional situation for all concerned and our presenter's priority throughout was the caller's wellbeing, while behind the scenes our production team got in touch with relevant organisations to help him directly," Mr Kelly said.

"We hope Jay is now getting the appropriate support he requires.

"I would like to thank our staff for handling a very difficult situation with such care and sensitivity," he added.

hnews@herald.ie

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