A teenage girl who threatened to kill herself while hanging on a bridge over the A38 in Burton was talked down by a heroic police officer.
Detective Sergeant Laura Kershaw was driving home from a gruelling 17-hour shift in January last year when she came across the girl, who was threatening to jump.
She spent two hours talking to the girl and risked her own life by climbing over the railings of the bridge to get to her.
Now DS Kershaw, of Derbyshire police, has been honoured for her bravery at an awards ceremony hosted by Derby police commander Jim Allen.
She said: "It had been a very long and difficult shift and I was driving home from work at 2am.
"It had been gruelling and I was ready to go home. I came off the A38 at Clay Mills and drove past a bridge which runs over the road when I saw a figure.
"She was climbing over. I parked up and went to her as she was going to the other side of the bridge. She was only 17 years old and had mental health problems.
"She started to pour her heart out to me. The pressure of life had clearly got to her and she wanted to end her life.
"She said nobody was listening to her and she was lonely. I tried to relate to her and talked her through her problems.
"I was so scared she was going to jump – I thought about phoning for back up but I was convinced that if I left her for one second then she would have gone.
"There was still a lot of traffic at that time so I thought there could have been a massive tragedy."
DS Kershaw spent two hours talking to the girl before she managed to get her down, then showed the girl her new car as a distraction.
She said: "Throughout all of this it was in the back of my head that she could grab me and pull me down. I was right next to her and I got her to safety.
"In a split-second she could have pulled me over and we could have both died.
"It was only afterwards that I realised I risked my life as well as saving her.
"There was also a lot of traffic across the road. Although it was in the early hours if she had jumped then it could have led to even more deaths and absolute tragedy."
The girl has since been given mental health support and is now getting better.
DS Kershaw said: "I spoke to her family afterwards and they were very shocked by what happened.
"From what happened she got the health and support she needs and is doing well.
"I did not really have time to think about what I did at the time. Helping people and looking after people is a passion for me. That's the best part of the job, it's why I love it.
"Being given the commendation is fantastic. I'm really proud."
Helplines and websites
Samaritans (116 123) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at email@example.com.
Childline (0800 1111) runs a helpline for children and young people in the UK. Calls are free and the number won’t show up on your phone bill.
PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is a voluntary organisation supporting teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal.
Depression Alliance is a charity for people with depression. It doesn’t have a helpline, but offers a wide range of useful resources and links to other relevant information. http://www.depressionalliance.org/
Students Against Depression is a website for students who are depressed, have a low mood or are having suicidal thoughts. http://studentsagainstdepression.org/
Bullying UK is a website for both children and adults affected by bullying. www.Bullying.co.uk