Life-saving stories

For every life lost on the railway, six are saved by those around them. But with your help, even more lives can be saved.

Here are some stories from people who trusted their instincts and helped set others on the road to recovery. 

Examples of lives saved on the railways - Small Talk Saves Lives logo

“Someone talking to me and showing they care helped interrupt my suicidal thoughts and that gave them time to subside. The more people who understand that suicide is preventable, the better.”

Sarah Wilson was 28 when she decided to take her own life. A law graduate, music lover and aspiring writer, she left a note before leaving the house.

Watch Sarah’s story below, and find out more here.

"He was bent over and sobbing ... really very distressed. I couldn't just walk past him."

Gillian was walking her dog near her home when she noticed a man who looked like he was crying and was in a place where he might come to harm. Thankfully, she stopped to talk.

“I said: ‘excuse me, are you okay?’ … we started talking and I wanted to calm him down, so I just kept talking to him.

“Gradually he became calmer and I even joked with him. He started stroking my dog, and then rang his parents, so I stayed chatting with him until his parents arrived.”

“I had a constant nagging feeling that something wasn’t quite right … and was compelled to go back.”

Rail worker Gerry Mann was carrying out a routine check at a station when he noticed a woman who looked upset, so he began to talk to her.

“I asked her name and where she lived, and I asked if she had any family. She said she had a little boy, and to keep the conversation going we chatted more about her son. She told me his name and that her parents were babysitting him.

“I asked if she would like a hot drink so we could talk, and thankfully she agreed. I’d alerted the police, so we sat and talked… she began to relax a little before they arrived.”

“I believe it is so important to interact with people, as a simple conversation could have a big impact.”

Rail manager Rizwan Javed – who’s been trained by Samaritans in suicide prevention – was closing up the station when he saw something unusual.

“I saw a young woman standing on the platform. She wasn’t wearing any shoes but then I noticed some shoes, a bag and a jacket on the floor nearby. I went over and started a conversation by telling her my name.

“We spoke for about 15 minutes altogether, and I was able to draw on what I learnt on the Samaritans course about the importance of repeating and listening by telling her: “I'm here to listen – let it all out”. I’d called the British Transport Police and I was able to reassure her until they arrived.”

If you’d like to find out more about our work with the rail industry you can do so here. If you’re interested in volunteering with Samaritans, you can enquire here. Samaritans is a charity and we are always here for anyone struggling to cope. Please donate today and you could help save a life.