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Daily Record
Daily Record
Ryan Carroll

Ayrshire bridge is suicide hot spot

A suicide survivor has called for increased safety measures on the banks of a river branded a “death trap.”

Craig Shearer is raising awareness of mental health issues after he was rescued from the River Ayr just eight months ago.

The 28-year-old was saved the same month the Ayrshire Post featured a front page story branding the town’s busy New Bridge area a “death trap” after a string of suicide attempts.

After years of despair and rescues we called for safety measures such as life rings, ropes or ladders to be introduced to assist people getting out of the freezing water.

Months later no action has been taken and Craig knows from experience how quickly situations can escalate.

Craig told the Post: “I’ve suffered from depression and anxiety for seven years and the night I decided to jump I had recently split up with a long term partner.

“The medication I was on had adverse effects on my mental health, I felt like I had exhausted everyone around me to the extent they didn’t want to hear anything from me anymore.

“I felt like I was a failure at life and to those around me and after having a few drinks, for what I can only describe as ‘courage’, I decided to jump.

“I hoped that in the dark of night I would be unable to find my way out of the water and the extreme winter cold would weaken me to the point of no return.

“I have no idea how long I was in the water but at some point I was screaming for help. I remembered who and what I was leaving behind.

“In that moment I didn’t want to die – it had taken that me that far to realise this.

“Someone in the nearby flats near York Street heard me and called for help and according to the police I managed to find a ladder on the harbour wall and pull myself out.

“I was taken to hospital and treated for hypothermia and the nurse said I was in the water for at least 30 minutes.

“It’s a miracle how I managed to stay afloat this amount of time in such extreme temperatures.”

The former Auchinleck Academy pupil is thankful to be alive but knows he’s one of the lucky ones.

In October Toria Cassidy, who lives on New Bridge Street, revealed she had seen three people attempt to jump in a week and two bodies.

Craig said: “I think there should be safety rings down either side of the river and pier walls.

“An increase in lighting along the sides of the river would help too.

“A sign from the Samaritans or any type of positive signage would be an excellent idea.

“It would definitely have made me think twice.

“Going through the pandemic is going to have drastic affects on peoples mental health.

“We all need to pull together as a community and look out for each other.”

The Ayrshire Road Alliance pledged to install safety measures if they are given the green light by South Ayrshire Council.

A spokesman said: “Any appropriate actions will be implemented.”

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