Content warning: This post deals with suicide, and may be distressing to some readers. For 24-hour crisis support, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14.
December 4 is a date that could have become one of horrible significance to Dan Price’s loved ones. It is the date on which, nearly three years ago now, the former real estate executive attempted to take his own life on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
A security guard made the call. It was 5:45 am and a heavily intoxicated 29-year-old was walking heel-toe along a narrow ledge on the outside of the bridge’s protective metal fence. Emergency services swarmed to spot. Price’s personal struggles brought part of the city to a standstill, as a small group of men and women attempted to convince him that his life had value, meaning, that he needed more than his 29 years.
Constable Arun Trevitt was among that group. And it’s largely because of him, Dan says, that December 4 is the day he survived.
In the years since, Constable Trevitt and Dan Price have forged a friendship built on what happened that day. Their bond even helped the policeman cope after he responded to the scene of a horrific fatal car crash in September. Risking his own life, Constable Trevitt pulled the sole survivor out of the CBD wreckage before it went up in flames.
Having helped each other in times of crisis, the pair hope their story will aide others.
Price now devotes his time to suicide prevention, the biggest killer of Australians aged between 15 and 44. He works as a speaker and advocate to help people realise that hope, help and support is always available. That morning on the bridge, he didn’t think that existed; he thought he was alone, and that no one cared. But within a matter of minutes, Constable Trevitt showed him otherwise.
“He talked about how his relationship with his wife had broken down, he got into some drugs and he was just fed up with everything,” Constable Trevitt told The Daily Telegraph.
“I said to him ‘I am divorced myself, I know exactly where you are coming from, I know it’s hard’.
“I said ‘but there is nothing here that we can’t fix or get you help for and we really want you to come back over’.”
At 4:45 that afternoon, Price’s father, Paul, was able to write the following email to the rookie policeman.
“Hello Arun. My wife Cate and I just wanted to thank you for your persistent efforts to save our son in the early hours of this morning… He is a lovely sensitive bloke, well worth saving… hopefully he can see the light at the end of the tunnel and embrace the difficult road to recovery. Given your wonderful work this morning, at least he now as the choice.”
While Constable Trivett gladly accepted Price’s offer of a beer – “for saving my life” – he’s reluctant to accept the praise he deserves.
“I don’t see myself as any better than any other police officer that goes out every day to just have a crack to try and make a difference,” he told the outlet.
Price was admitted to hospital that afternoon, spent a number of days in a psychiatric ward, and checked into a private hospital rehabilitation centre for intensive medical care.
In July of last year, he wrote about his experience with anxiety and depression via Facebook.
"I feel very lucky and grateful to still be alive having survived a horrendously painful, lonely period of darkness leading to suicidal thoughts and hospitalisation on more than one occasion," he wrote.
"I had come to feel completely worthless and helpless. I felt I was a failure. Self-loathing was like poison running through my veins. Constant negative thoughts corrupted my mind. I couldn't look at myself in the mirror, I struggled to smile and laugh but continued to put on an act, a brave face."
But to those feeling the same, Price assured, "those feelings will pass".
"The storm will pass eventually, and you will see the blue sky again," he wrote. "Life is worth living. You are not alone. Vulnerability is strength. If in doubt, reach out."
To donate to Dan Price's mental health initiative, Livin, visit the website here.
Remember, 24-hour crisis support is available via Lifeline. Please call 13 11 14.