‘Talk to us’: Suicides on UK railways decrease as Samaritans continue life-saving mission

An estimated 4.5% of UK suicides occur on railways, but suicides and suspected suicides on the tracks decreased by 12% in 2015/16 – the first reduction since 2012.

And Samaritans has joined forces with Network Rail and British Transport Police (BTP) to continue this downward trend.

A prominent feature of Samaritans campaigns are signs positioned on railway platforms which aim to deter people from jumping onto the tracks.

“Every suicide is complex and any data is best understood by looking at trends over time rather than in a single year,” said Samaritans spokesperson Ola Rzepczynska.

“It is, however, very encouraging to see a 12% reduction in suicides in the railway environment, at the same time as a 34% increase in interventions by rail staff.”

‘Talk to us if things are getting to you’ one poster reads – part of the 2016 ‘Talk to Us’ campaign which encourages people to become better listeners.

Samaritans, Network Rail and BTP also joined forces in 2012 for a ‘We’re in your Corner’ campaign to address male deaths on railways.

Working class men between 30 and 50 years old are most likely to take their own lives, according to BTP.

Furthermore, Samaritans report that approximately 3,000 middle-aged men commit suicide every year.

Comprising research into male suicide and a poster campaign, ‘We’re in your Corner’ aims to further reduce rail suicides by 2017.

A Rail Industry Suicide Prevention Programme (RISPP) has also been in place since 2010.

Prevention training is at the heart of the RISPP and Samaritans have trained more than 13,000 rail staff to confidently identify, approach and support vulnerable people.

“We hope to establish a culture of care within the railway industry and hope this will inspire other sectors to look at how suicide prevention can be incorporated into their activities,” said Ms Rzepczynska.

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