Santa Monica Police Department crisis negotiators helped talk a nineteen year-old man out of a potential suicide attempt in Palisades Park on Tuesday morning.
The individual sat on a bluff above the Pacific Coast Highway from 10:20 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., during which time officers closed the 10 freeway below Lincoln Ave and a section of the northbound PCH. The young man voluntarily returned to safety and was taken to a local hospital for medical treatment and mental health assessment.
Officers were first contacted at 10:20 a.m. by a family member who reported the individual was distraught and in need of emergency assistance. The young man had climbed over the fence into Palisades Park and was perched on the edge of a cliff.
“Upon arrival our police officers recognized that the individual was having a difficult time, was in a very dangerous situation and in need of help. The officers requested our crisis negotiators who are trained in mental health and crisis communications. They responded to the scene while our police officers were gaining a rapport with the young man,” said Joseph Cortez, SMPD Public Information Officer.
The crisis negotiators spent two hours speaking with the individual to gain his trust and convince him to climb back over the fence. Crisis negotiators are trained by psychologists, mental health experts, and negotiation experts to handle difficult situations such as this.
Firefighters were also on scene with ropes and harnesses in case they needed to perform a rescue.
“We were able to successfully negotiate this individual to get the help he needed and we were very happy by the outcome this afternoon,” said Cortez.
The SMPD is not aware of any increase in suicide or suicide attempts since the outbreak of the pandemic. If people are having an immediate suicide emergency they should contact 911. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is available 24/7 at 800-273-8255 and provides free confidential support in English or Spanish for people in emotional distress.