West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper joined Network Rail asking commuters to take part in a new suicide prevention campaign on the railways which could save many lives a year.
It involves them spotting vulnerable people and talking to them to interrupt their suicidal thoughts.
Small Talk Saves Lives asks the public to trust their instincts and look out for fellow passengers who might need help, as illustrated in a new film.
The campaign has been launched by Network Rail, Samaritans, British Transport Police (BTP) and the rail industry. It draws on insights from successful interventions by the 16,000 rail and BTP staff trained in suicide prevention. Six lives are saved for each life lost on the railways. The hope is that by appealing to members of the public, the number of life-saving interventions will increase further.
A question about the weather or even asking someone’s name can be enough. You won’t make the situation worse but you could help save a life and set somebody on a journey to recovery.
If you don’t feel comfortable or safe doing so, you can tell a member of rail staff, many of whom Samaritans have trained to help, or call 999.
By highlighting that suicidal thoughts can be temporary and interrupted with something as simple as a question, the campaign aims to give the public the tools to spot a potentially vulnerable person, start a conversation with them, and help save a life.
Rosie Cooper MP said:
“Suicide is such a tragic killer affecting thousands of victims and families each year, many taking their own lives on the railway.
“This campaign by the rail authorities in partnership with Samaritans is so important in working to reduce the number of suicides simply through small talk.
“Rail staff are trained in suicide prevention but passengers can have a positive impact on a person’s day and help save their life by talking to each other.”
Small Talk Saves Lives has been developed after research showed passengers have a key role to play in suicide prevention. Further research showed the majority are willing to act, but many wanted guidance on how to help, and reassurance they wouldn’t ‘make things worse’.
The campaign draws on insights from successful interventions made by some of the 16,000 rail staff and BTP officers who’ve been trained by Samaritans in suicide prevention.
Find out more about the campaign and how you can help here.