Life-saving interventions on rail network up 82% in one year across the Anglia rail network: Peter Wilson MOM

Friday 30 Jun 2017

Life-saving interventions on rail network up 82% in one year across the Anglia rail network


Suicide prevention measures put in place as part of the partnership between Samaritans, Network Rail, British Transport Police (BTP) and the wider rail industry are reducing deaths on the railway.

So far, 1,775 railway staff have been trained in the Anglia region and since April last year, 186* potentially life-saving interventions have been carried out across Anglia’s rail network by rail staff, British Transport Police, local police and members of the public – an increase of 82% percent on the previous year.

At the same time, suicides and suspected suicides on Anglia’s rail network have dropped from 47 in April 2016 to 32** in April 2017.

As the partnership marks the 15,000th member of rail staff trained in suicide prevention, Peter, a mobile operations manager for Network Rail, based at Tottenham, explains how he used the training recently when he received a report of a person on the line between London Liverpool Street and Stansted Airport. When he reached the site, trains were at a stand and Peter found a teenage boy on the tracks. He used his training to approach him and lead him to a place of safety while alerting emergency services.

Peter said: “I approached him and asked about going for a chat. As he followed me off the tracks he spoke of ending his life and told me he came to the railway to do just that. It affected me personally, as I have kids of a similar age. The training really helped me to deal with the situation and lead him to safety. ”

Rail companies, BTP and Samaritans are continuing to work in partnership to encourage more people to open up and talk about mental health issues and suicidal feelings.

Samaritans deliver two training courses as part of the partnership – a course for railway staff and BTP officers teaching them how to identify and approach potentially suicidal people, and trauma support training aimed at those who may be affected by suicide on the railway.

Ian Stevens, who manages the suicide prevention programme on behalf of the rail industry, said: 

“It’s encouraging to see the number of suicides on the railway fall for the second year in a row, and hopefully this trend continues in line with our ongoing suicide prevention work. It’s great to be able to say that around one in six rail staff are now trained in suicide prevention, and that their commitment to preventing suicides on the railway is translating into actual lives saved on the ground. Put simply, we are now more likely to intervene and prevent people being injured or killed through suicide attempts on the railway.

“As the operators of the rail network in Britain, we have a responsibility to keep passengers, staff and members of the public safe. Alongside physical measures such as new barriers, fencing and lighting at stations, we will continue our work with Samaritans to prevent suicides and break down the stigma associated with mental health issues.”

Samaritans CEO Ruth Sutherland said: “The reduction in suicides on the railway shows that the partnership between Samaritans, Network Rail, BTP and the wider rail industry is making a real difference. But suicide is everybody’s business and we want to see the same dramatic reduction in suicide figures in general.  We look forward to taking this learning to a wider audience and having an even greater impact on suicide numbers in the coming years.”

Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 50 and those from deprived communities are particularly vulnerable.

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