Samaritans rail scheme sees suicide rate reduce

A scheme to cut the number of suicides on the railways has been hailed as a quiet success.

Specialist railway staff training has contributed to an 11 per cent decrease in suicides over the past year.

More than 1,000 railway staff at 220 locations across the network have received innovative suicide prevention training by the Samaritans.

Station staff, railway police and train crew are trained to approach people they suspect of contemplating suicide and talking to them.

Sir David Higgins, Chief Executive of Network Rail, said:

“We know that rail staff who have undertaken the Samaritans’ training programme have already been able to intervene in potential suicides. Each suicide is a tragedy for the individuals and families involved, as well as having an inevitable impact on rail staff and passengers.

“It is encouraging that the rail industry is pulling together to work with Samaritans who have provided a responsive and professional service to our staff.”

Last year there were 207 recorded suicides. The year before the figure was 233.

With £5 million of Network Rail investment, the five-year project includes intervention training for staff, support for drivers after a trauma and support for individuals.

Local Samaritans volunteers can be called out to offer help to emotionally vulnerable individuals at railway stations.

For more details and videos of railways staff who are working with the Samaritans visit the website.

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