In my experience there are three types of suicide calls that we go to.
By far the largest group are those that don't really intend to die. They normally present as having had an argument with either a family member or their boy/girl/transgender-friend. They then either take a handful of tablets or make some minor cuts to their wrist. I don't believe that they wish to die for, as soon as they perform this act of self harm, they call for an ambulance. More often than not they don't call for an ambulance themselves but instead phone round their family and friends and let them know what they have done. These friends then call us and rush around to the patient's house in order to give their support
When we arrive they sometimes put up a pretence of not wanting to go to hospital, but will come without a fight as it were. Surrounded by the people who care for them they sit chatting in the back of the ambulance.
Often paracetamol (acetaminophen) is the drug of choice and occasionally someone will take too much of it thinking that it is a 'safe' drug to overdose on – a mistaken belief that has killed more than one person, especially when mixed with alcohol.
A much rarer suicide call is the person who has succeeded in killing themselves, seldom this is due to a drug overdose. We will get sent to someone who has hung themselves, or someone who lives alone and has taken a mixture of every drug that they can find. Often these people will have a collection of anti-depressents that they take all at once.
These patients will normally have a long history of mental illness and they go somewhere private and kill themselves – it is only when someone hasn't seen them for a few days that we are called.
While I've never been to one myself, there are people who kill themselves in public places, often fathers who kill themselves to be found by their children – something that I've never understood.
Then there is the final group, those who truly wish to kill themselves but have been 'unlucky' enough to be discovered. These are the tough cases as they don't want to be saved. We find ourselves trying to get them to go to hospital, but they refuse and, as the law stands, I can't frogmarch them into my ambulance. So the police are often involved in persuading them, and on more than one occasion I've had to rely on the Mental Health Act in order to have them removed to hospital against their will.
Sometimes they do come quietly, and this can be heartbreaking to see – one memorable job of this type was a teenager with a long history of mental health problems. They were taking a whole bunch of tranquillisers and anti-depressants, their arms were just a mass of scar tissue from repeated self harm and they were incredibly unkempt. But the worst thing about this call was the utter hopelessness that radiated from them, they spoke with no emotion and answered any question put to them curtly. In my opinion it was unlikely that this teenager was ever going to become 'normal', or be able to live any life without constant supervision. They were accompanied by their adolescent mental health worker and she was very caring, which is sadly a rarity.
Which is a long way around of wondering which of these three camps this particular gentleman came from?