IMPACT

Mark Henick, Canadian Man Who Attempted Suicide, Finds The Guy Who Saved His Life

02/13/2015 01:32 EST | Updated 02/16/2015 06:59 EST

One cold night in 2002, Mark Henick decided he wanted to kill himself.

The Cape Breton teen had attempted suicide before. He was anxious and depressed. He decided to climb over the railing of an overpass.

“I don’t even know what was really triggering it at the time,” he told the Toronto Star. “I thought that I knew that I had to kill myself in order to escape this.”

But someone stopped him. Mike Richey, a local youth care worker, was on his way to work and saw Henick clinging to the overpass railing. He drove to a convenience store to tell the clerk to call police and then drove back to talk to Henick, chatting for "what seemed like hours," he writes in a recent letter.

Police, paramedics and onlookers gathered. Richey convinced the person on the ledge to move closer to him, but Henick was still barely holding on by his heels and fingertips.

"I felt like he was working himself up to let go. I was completely focused on his fingers, waiting for them to start slipping. Within moments, they did. And as he leaned forward into nothing, I reached out and put my arm around his chest."

A police officer grabbed the back of Henick's jacket and pulled him to safety.

After that day, though, Richey never saw the teen again.

Since then, Henick has become a vocal advocate for mental health. He works for the Canadian Mental Health Association's Ontario branch and delivered a TEDTalk in 2013 about suicide.

After a friend of Richey's spotted the talk, Richey realized it was the same teen he had helped so many years ago.

"I wondered if he ever went back and finished what he was attempting to do that night. I wondered if he ever found the peace he was looking for. All I could do was remain optimistic and hope for the latter," he writes.

On Jan. 29, Henick took to social media to try to find the man who saved him, and two people who knew Richey got in touch. Right around the same time, the older man decided to send him a letter, which you can hear Henick read in an emotional YouTube video.

The two are now in contact, according to the Star, and plan to meet sometime.

"For the last 12 years, I wasn't completely sure if I had actually made all of this up, if this was something I had just imagined or dreamt," Henick says in the video.

"I know what I need to do next. I need to meet Mike."

If you're considering suicide, here are some places you can call to get help.

911: If you are in crisis or have harmed yourself, the first thing to do is call 911.

Alberta Distress Centre: 403-266-HELP (4357) or 780-482-HELP

British Columbia Crisis Line: 310-6789 (do not add 604, 778 or 250)

Manitoba Suicide Line: 1-877-435-7170

New Brunswick Chimo Helpline: 1-800-667-5005

Newfoundland and Labrador Crisis Line: 1-888-737-4668

Northwest Territories Helpline: 1-800-661-0844

Nova Scotia Mental Health Mobile Crisis Team: 1-888-429-8167

Nunavut Kamatsiaqtut Help Line: 1 800 265 3333

Ontario Mental Health Helpline: 1-866-531-2600, live chat

Prince Edward Island Helpline: 1-800-218-2885

Quebec Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-866-APPELLE (277-3553)

Saskatchewan Province-wide Health Information: 811, where there's a mental health worker on staff

Regina Crisis/Suicide Line: 306-525-5333

Southwest Saskatchewan Crisis Services: 1-800-567-3334

Kids Help Phone (for children or youth aged 5 to 20, Canada-wide): 1-800-668-6868


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