Samaritans worked with London Underground to reduce suicides through staff training, outreach work and communications campaigns.
Samaritans and London Underground
This partnership ran from 2013 to 2014.
The one-day Managing Suicidal Contacts (MSC) course provided London Underground staff with an awareness and understanding of suicidal behaviour, and equipped staff with the skills and confidence to identify, approach and intervene with potentially suicidal people.
The MSC course received consistently excellent feedback. The post-course evaluation showed that:
- 10% of respondents had engaged with a potentially suicidal person since the course
- 57% had used the skills learnt in other aspects of their work
- 99% had found the course helpful
- 99% would recommend the MSC to colleagues
A series of Station Awareness Days were held at stations across the Underground network. Samaritans volunteers worked in partnership with British Transport Police officers and London Underground staff to raise awareness of the support Samaritans can provide to all those who are struggling to cope, not just those who are suicidal. During these outreach sessions volunteers talked to a number of people who were in need of further support and were referred on to Samaritans services.
Samaritans produced a range of bespoke communications materials for London Underground, including contact cards, Oystercard wallets, training materials and a variety of posters.
A pocket handbook called ‘An Introduction to Suicide Prevention and Support on the Underground’ was created. It was designed to help staff remember the ‘5 STEPS’ involved in identifying, approaching and referring a potentially suicidal person, as well as providing information on support available to staff after an incident. The handbook also included a credit card sized quick reference guide. 24,000 copies were printed and distributed to London Underground staff.
- Over 800 staff trained on the Managing Suicidal Contacts course
- A series of Station Awareness Days held at stations across the underground network
- 24,000 copies of the ‘Introduction to suicide prevention and support on the Underground’ pocket handbook distributed to London Underground staff
Following on from this partnership Samaritans worked with London Underground in 2015 to design and create a video-based suicide prevention learning resource for London Underground staff.
Suicide Prevention and Support on the Underground Learning Tool
In February 2016 we launched a bespoke suicide prevention training resource for London Underground staff. The Suicide Prevention and Support on the Underground Learning Tool has six video modules and provides staff with:
- An increased understanding of suicide and the issues around it, and a belief that suicides can be prevented
- Guidance on the 5 STEPS of an intervention including: spotting a potentially suicidal person, how to approach and talk to them, how to safely get that person away from danger and how to get them further help
- A summary of the support services available to staff after a suicide takes place
The key aim is to increase the number of staff intervening in potential suicide incidents on the network, by inspiring and educating as many people as possible across London Underground. This Learning Tool provides an effective means of reaching thousands of employees across the network quickly, and communicates important and emotive messages in an engaging and inspiring way through a range of video-based modules.