Since 2010, Samaritans has trained more than 28,000 rail staff with the skills to help someone at risk of suicide on the railway.
How are rail staff supporting people at risk of suicide?
As part of our partnership with Network Rail and the wider rail industry, Samaritans deliver a one-day Managing Suicidal Contacts course to rail staff, either virtually or face to face, training them on how to identify, approach and support a potentially suicidal person.
Delegates are taught how to recognise someone who may be suicidal, how to approach them and start a conversation. They are taught some of the essential listening skills that underpin Samaritans’ services and how to safely resolve a situation and refer a person to friends, family, the British Transport Police or Samaritans to receive further support.
The fact that someone had noticed me in the state I was in made me burst into tears. I opened up to him and he sat and listened to everything I had to say.
An extract from a letter of thanks from a person helped by a trained rail staff member
Is the course working?
Yes, it is. Since 2010, Samaritans has trained over 28,000 rail staff in suicide prevention and support and from those who have been trained, more than nine hundred potentially life-saving interventions have been reported. This figure is likely to be a lot higher since not all interventions were recorded.
Our Managing suicidal contacts course receives an average evaluation score of 4.89 out of 5 from delegates and the training team has won several awards since the start of the partnership.
Before I took the course with Samaritans I wouldn’t have approached a person in suicidal crisis for fear of saying the wrong thing. The course has equipped me with the skills, ability and understanding of how to help and what to say in these difficult situations.
West Midlands Trains course participant
How can I attend the Managing Suicidal Contacts course?
If you work within the rail industry in England, Scotland or Wales and would like to attend the course, please email [email protected].
If you don't work in the rail industry, visit our workplace training area for information on similar courses, or you could consider becoming a Samaritans volunteer.
How else are rail staff being encouraged to support vulnerable people?
The rail industry is vast and complex so it will take some time to train all frontline staff in Managing Suicidal Contacts. We have therefore developed communications tools in collaboration with Network Rail, British Transport Police and train operating companies to engage the rail industry on a large scale and to promote a culture of looking out for one another.