Meet Chen Si, The Man Who Saved Hundreds Of People From Suicide

A lot of attention has been drawn this week to Logan Paul, the YouTuber who caused uproar by uploading a video featuring the body of a man who had killed himself.

The video, which showed Paul making jokes about the body as he and his friends toured the Aokigahara in Japan, has led to widespread criticism and has led the vlogger to temporarily step away from his YouTube channel.

But someone on Twitter has pointed people towards a hero we should be paying attention to instead: Chen Si, a Chinese man who has saved more than 330 people from suicide.

The subject was raised by author and biology student Heraa Hashmi, who made a series of tweets highlighting Chen's story.

Since 2004, the transport company manager has spent his weekends patrolling Nanjing's Yangtze River Bridge, one of the biggest suicide spots in the world, attempting to save people's lives.

Speaking with NPR in 2006, Chen explained that he looks out for people in distress, singling out 'those who look depressed, those whose psychological pressure is great, [whose] way of walking is very passive with no spirit, or no direction' before speaking with them.

Chen has been known to go to extraordinary lengths to help people, not only giving them follow-up phone calls for support or letting them stay in his spare bedroom, but even risking his own life by grabbing people he sees trying to jump off the bridge.

"Often it really is a life and death struggle. They've already climbed over the railings, and I'm left hanging onto them by an arm. I have to drag them back over," Chen told NPR. "Sometimes after I've saved someone, when I'm not paying attention, they jump. And there are those I don't reach in time."

One man, Shi Xiqing, told the station how Chen stopped him killing himself when he was stressed over debts he'd amassed to pay $15,000 for his daughter's leukemia treatment. Chen called him every week and spoke with his creditors in an attempt to solve the problem.

Credit: YouTube/Angel of Nanjing
Credit: YouTube/Angel of Nanjing

In 2015, Chen's story was made the subject of a film, Angel of Nanjing, and he has admitted that his own worries have increased as a result of his decision to save people.

"What should I do with the people I save? I don't have that much money," he said. "When I save people, I don't want to just cheat them into living another day."

To Hashmi, rather than YouTube celebrities or millionaires, Chen Si is a figure who we should all be trying to emulate.

"He doesn't have millions of fans. Or an adoring audience. Or a mansion. But the people he's touched and impacted cannot be assigned an adsense value," she said on Twitter.

"It is a privilege to have people willing to listen to you. It is a burden to live a life knowing you can and will cause endless ripples in a pond.

"Chen carries that weight with dignity and humility. Live with at least an ounce of his."

'U OK M8?' is an initiative from LADbible in partnership with a range of mental health charities which features a series of films and stories to raise awareness of mental health.

Explore more here and don't suffer in silence. Reach out. It's the brave thing to do.

MIND: 0300 123 3393.

Samaritans: 116 123.

CALM: Outside London 0808 802 5858, inside London 0800 58 58 58.

Mental Health Foundation

Featured Image Credit: YouTube/Angel of Nanjing

Chris Ogden

Chris Ogden is a journalist at LADbible. He graduated from the University of East Anglia with degrees in English Literature and Creative Writing before completing his NCTJ Diploma in Multimedia Journalism. Chris has previously written for the independent culture magazine The Skinny, among other publications.

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