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NEWS: Samaritans campaign shows how rail passengers can help save a life

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Rail commuters are being encouraged to talk to people showing signs of distress in order to prevent suicides.


The Samaritans’ campaign, Small talk saves lives promotes the message that just a simple question can be enough to interrupt someone’s suicidal thoughts.

Offering tips on the signs to look for and questions to ask, it comes after British Transport Police research that shows for every life lost on the railways six are saved by intervention.

“A question about the weather or even asking someone’s name can be enough,” says the campaign. “You won’t make the situation worse but you could help save a life and set somebody on a journey to recovery.”

A simple question to someone in distress on the rail network can help save a life. Photograph: Samaritans / Small Talk Saves Lives

It advises those who don’t feel comfortable or safe in approaching another member of the public to tell a member of rail staff, as many rail staff have been trained by the Samaritans to help.

Last month the British Safety Council supported 31 Hours, a new play about suicide on the rail network. It explores how, every 31 hours someone takes their life on the UK rail network and that it is ten times more likely to be a man.

Louise Ward, British Safety Council’s head of policy, spoke to audiences after one of the performances about her experiences in dealing with the aftermaths of suicide as former head of safety with British Rail. Read her interview with Vice Magazine here.

Small talk saves lives campaign here

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