Nigel’s story

While walking to his job as a business improvement manager for Network Rail in Milton Keynes one day, Nigel Burrows saw a man sat astride a footbridge wall and positioning himself above the rail track.

“There was no one else around so I knew I had to act. I immediately thought about the impact on colleagues, on the train driver and the passengers on the platforms if he decided to take his own life.

“I approached the man, keeping a distance so as not to startle him, and tried to get his attention, asking that he came down as it was not a safe place to be."

“He was moving along the wall over the rail line. I could tell he was in an emotionally low place. His face was swollen and bruised, and it seemed he'd been drinking a lot.

I stood where he would have to make eye contact with me and this seemed to help.

“After a few attempts to get his attention, he responded, almost subconsciously. I stood where he would have to make eye contact with me and this seemed to help him think about the situation he was in.

“As a train was approaching, he said he was concerned about the effect his actions would have on the train driver.

“The eye contact and the fact that someone cared about his action seemed to help convince him to come off the wall and walk with me to a position of safety. When he was calmer, I walked with him to the station entrance, where there were some other people around.

“He confirmed that he was going to speak to someone and knew where to get help, and I felt assured that I was able to leave him.

“I'm used to dealing with difficult situations as part of my job, so I didn't hesitate to approach him, but I think the Samaritans training on how to handle suicidal contacts can help many colleagues feel empowered to intervene.”

Find out more

Contact the Samaritans

Suicide prevention on the railway

Suicide prevention campaigns