Train Staff Helped More Than 500 People Last Year After Training To Spot ‘Vulnerable’ Passengers
Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) staff stopped more than 500 people from taking their own lives last year.
2020 saw 508 interventions take place, compared to 233 in 2018.
Now, to mark World Suicide Prevention Day, GTR, the UK’s biggest rail franchise, which operates Southern, Thameslink and Great Northern services, has revealed that it’s expanding its training so even more people will be able to help those they think are vulnerable.
It’s hoped the online training will make ‘even more people equipped with skills to help people in need on the railway’.
The company has pledged that all of its staff, including the Rail Pastor network, community rail partners and Members of Parliament, will receive the training by the end of 2022.
Speaking on the difficult times everyone has faced recently, Laura Campbell, GTR’s Suicide Prevention Manager, said:
This year has been incredibly tough on people’s mental health, which is why it’s so important to equip people with tools to be able to help those in need. Sometimes all it takes to break someone’s suicidal thoughts is a simple question, such as asking for directions. By educating our partners on simple steps to identify and help someone who may be vulnerable, we can work together to save lives – because one life lost is one too many.
Laura continued to say that GTR staff are already trained to ‘spot the signs and know how to step in’, but now it is offering the training to others across the railway industry.
‘By opening up the training programme, we hope to ensure that there is always someone on the platform looking out for people in need,’ Laura added.
Laura suggested people do the following things when approaching someone who may be contemplating taking their own life: phone 999 immediately; let a member of staff or fellow passenger know if you are going to approach the individual; approach carefully and slowly, from the side if possible; try to start a conversation with the person, and to ask open questions.
Laura also said to try to move them to a safe, quiet place where you can talk to them.
Meanwhile, Laura told people to not stand between the person and the tracks, to not stand on the tracks themselves at any point, don’t try to give the person advice, and to not pressure them if they do not want help. If this is the case, she says to stay nearby them to ensure they’re not alone.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence, please don’t suffer alone. Call Samaritans for free on their anonymous 24-hour phone line on 116 123