Preventing suicides on the railway

Gillian Assor is one of many members of the public who have saved a life on the railway.

Gillian, from Hertfordshire, intervened when she saw a man in distress while walking her dog with her husband.

She has shared her experience as part of a campaign backed by the rail industry, British Transport Police and charity Samaritans to encourage ordinary people to trust their instincts and help save a life.

There has been a 20% increase in the number of times a member of the public has acted to prevent suicide in the rail environment.

There were 163 interventions by members of the public between January and September this year, up a fifth from the same period a year earlier.

Gillian said: “It was getting dark and as we were walking I noticed a young man, he was bent over and sobbing, and in a place where he could have come to harm. I couldn’t just walk past him. I said, ‘Excuse me, are you okay?’ And he replied straightaway, ‘No, I’m not’.”

Gillian carried on talking to the young man. He gradually became calmer and eventually called his parents, who came to take him home. A few weeks later, he contacted Gillian through social media and she and her husband went to meet him. “You saved my life,” he said.

Samaritans offers suicide prevention training to workers across the railway:

If you need support, whatever you’re going through, call Samaritans for free any time, from any phone on 116 123.

Samaritans is available round the clock, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you need a response immediately, it’s best to call on the phone.  You don’t have to be suicidal to call Samaritans.

Find out more about the Small Talk Saves Lives campaign