Partnership between Transport Police, Rail Companies and Samaritans sees suicide rates on Wales Rail Network drop to 7 year low
Deaths as a result of suicide are continuing to reduce on railways in Wales thanks to prevention measures put in place as part of the partnership between Samaritans, Network Rail, British Transport Police.
Since April last year, 71 potentially life-saving interventions have been carried out across the Wales rail network by rail staff, British Transport Police, local police and members of the public.
At the same time, suicides and suspected suicides on the rail network as a whole have dropped from 253 to 237 since 1st April 2016, showing a steady decline in rail suicides for the second year in a row.
It means that rail suicides have fallen by 18 percent in two years with the number in 2016/17 the lowest yearly figure since 2010.
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.
As the new figures are released, the partnership is marking the 15,000th member of rail staff trained in suicide prevention.
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.
Steven Dobie, route performance measurement manager for Network Rail Wales, attended the Managing Suicidal Contacts course run by Samaritans last year.
It was this training that Steven felt helped him during an intervention this month, he said;
A colleague and I saw a girl on a platform who looked really distressed so I approached her and introduced myself.
We chatted and I reassured her I was there to help. I talked with her to keep her calm with a colleague from Great Western Railway until a British Transport Police officer took over.
The Managing Suicidal Contacts course was invaluable, it helped me to stay calm and listen, which also helped me calm her down.
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.
Network Rail has installed more fencing across the network at locations where the risk of suicide is known to be high, platform markings have been improved, for some at risk of suicide they can act as a psychological barrier.
Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 50 and those from deprived communities are particularly vulnerable.
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