We’re doing all we can to prevent rail suicides and support those affected by them.
Every suicide affects family and friends, as well as our employees, commuters and the wider community. Along with Britain’s train operating companies and British Transport Police, we’ve been working with Samaritans to raise awareness of its services since 2010.
The number of suicides on the railway fell by 12 per cent in 2015, the first time there has been an annual reduction since 2012. Railway staff, police officers and members of the public have saved over 1,100 people in 2015/16, having intervened in potential suicide attempts on Britain’s railway.
In 2016, our suicide prevention partnership won the Charity Times Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Project of the Year award.
The ‘We listen’ campaign
Rolled out in early 2016, ‘We listen’ reassures potential callers to Samaritans that its dedicated listeners are interested in the problems they are grappling with, including suicidal thoughts.
The charity published statistics showing that while nearly two thirds (64 per cent) of people in the UK like to think of themselves as good listeners, less than a quarter (23 per cent) feel that they can talk when something’s on their mind.
The campaign also encourages people to reach out for help before they get to a point of crisis, and Samaritans works with rail staff and the public, offering emotional support following traumatic incidents of death or injury.
How emotional first aid training is helping to save lives
Our suicide prevention partnership has funded advertising campaigns in stations, in the community and at big events. In addition, more than 11,500 of our employees have completed the Managing Suicidal Contacts course. They are trained to spot anyone who may be at risk of taking their own life and to lead them to safety and sources of support.
We continue to raise awareness of our commitment to suicide prevention online and across social media, with people invited to explore and share a short film showing the difference between hearing and listening.
In the film, shot from the point of view of someone having a conversation with a friend going through difficult times, a series of distractions highlight that it’s not always easy to hear what really matters. The aim is to emphasise how valuable listening is when supporting people who may be struggling, and to encourage more people to contact Samaritans before their feelings overwhelm them.
Our support for a unique taskforce on male suicide
In 2016, the Duke of Cambridge launched a unique rail industry coalition together with the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) to tackle the issue of male suicide, including Samaritans and frontline services from land, sea and air.
Male suicide has a huge impact on individuals, families, and on the workforce of many frontline services and other organisations.
The coalition brings together all members’ expertise in dealing with suicide first-hand to develop a resource that helps men identify and support others, and themselves, when down, depressed or suicidal.