Saving lives on the railways

Many rail employees who have taken our Managing Suicidal Contacts course have gone on to use the skills they’ve learned and their actions have potentially saved many lives.

Hear from some of the rail staff who’ve taken our course and found themselves in a situation where they needed to use their new skills.

Dean Cole works for Thameslink Great Northern and attended Samaritans’ Managing Suicidal Contacts course

“Two weeks after taking the Managing Suicidal Contacts course, I found myself in a situation where I had to use the skills I had learnt.  I noticed a woman who seemed to be acting strangely, so I walked along the platform, talking to the other passengers as I past them and slowly approached her.

“I asked her if she was okay and she said she was fine but my instinct told me that she wasn’t.  I decided to stay with her and have a conversation.

“As I spoke to her, my skills from the course came back to me.  I knew the right way to interact with her without making her feel uncomfortable or scared.  As we spoke, I slowly started to walk back along the platform, and luckily, she followed. I managed to put all the skills I had learnt into practice.

“Having brought her to a safe place, the British Transport Police were called and they took her back home; they seemed to know the lady quite well.

“Without my training, I may have approached her, but would have felt scared in case I wouldn’t have been able to handle the situation. However, since the training, I know I can approach someone with confidence.  I have more of an understanding of how they feel, and the best way to interact with them.  If this incident had happened before I took Samaritans' course; the outcome could have been very different.

“I hope my colleagues consider taking the training, as I think it is a great eye opener, not only on how to help people, but also to find out more about the great work that Samaritans do.”

Andrew Wellbeloved and Neena Naylor from Network Rail discuss the Managing Suicidal Contacts course and how they used the skills they learned to help someone in need.

After the loss of a colleague, Martyn Davies, an engineering data manager from Network Rail, took Samaritans’ Managing Suicidal Contacts training course.  He later put the skills he learnt into practice. 

“I was advised to take Samaritans’ Managing Suicidal Contacts training course after the tragic loss of a colleague, who took her own life.  It was a surprise to all of us at work, as she appeared to be happy.  She had planned to take leave from work, and sent an email around about how she wished to stay in contact with all her dear friends.  Although I thought it was strange, I thought nothing more of it, as I assumed I’d see her after she got back from holiday. 

“Now that I have completed the course, plus, with the benefit of hindsight, I can see the signs of someone in need of support.  She started to change the way she dressed and always mentioned being exhausted.  The skills I have learnt have taught me to be more searching in my questioning, and to not accept  answers at face value.

“Not long after I had taken the course, I managed to put those lifesaving skills to use.  I noticed a woman who had been there for sometime, looking upset so I approached and engaged her in conversation. She told me she had plans to kill herself and felt as though no one would care if she died.  I remembered from my training that people suffering from suicidal thoughts often aren’t able to rationalise their problems and think death is the only answer.

“I attempted to open up the discussion by asking her about her friends and family.  She told me she had a daughter and grandchildren so I encouraged her to speak about them.

“After talking for quite some time, the lady appeared a lot calmer and I was able to arrange for her to be taken home. Sometime later I received a painting from her and I felt great relief to know that she was okay.  I had also been informed that she was back in touch with her grandchildren.  Thanks to my training from Samaritans, I believe that I achieved something good that day, and potentially saved a life.