More about Small Talk Saves Lives


Q. What is Small Talk Saves Lives?

A. Small Talk Saves Lives aims to empower the public to act to prevent suicide on the railways and beyond. Suicide is preventable and suicidal thoughts are often temporary and can be interrupted. We want to give as many people as possible the knowledge and skills to notice if someone may be at risk and the confidence to approach them. A simple question or an observation about the weather can be all it takes to interrupt suicidal thoughts and encourage them to get help and recover. We want to remind people that they already know how to start a conversation and do it every day, giving them the confidence to act.


Q. What gave you the idea for the campaign?

A.  We work with leading academics in the field of suicide prevention research. A study carried out jointly for Samaritans and the rail industry by the Universities of Middlesex and Westminster indicated that a ‘bystander’ campaign could be valuable as the public has a role to play in suicide prevention. 


Q. Who have you worked with to develop the campaign?

A. We have worked in partnership with British Transport Police, Network Rail and the wider rail industry to develop the campaign. We have also consulted individuals who have experienced suicidal behaviour, those who have lost loved ones to suicide, people who regularly travel by train, and the general public. We wanted to make sure we took into account a range of experiences and insights to create as powerful a campaign as possible. 


Q. Where did the idea of ‘small talk saving lives’ come from?

A. We train thousands of rail staff in suicide prevention every year. Many of them go on to make an intervention and save a life. We encourage staff to look out for anyone who may be at risk and then start a conversation. A little small talk can be all that’s needed to interrupt suicidal thinking and start that person on a journey to recovery.


Q. How long has the campaign been running? 

A. Small Talk Saves Lives was launched in November 2017, and is delivered in partnership by Samaritans, British Transport Police, Network Rail and the wider rail industry.


Q. How can I support the campaign?

A. You can act if you see someone you think may need help. And you can help us spread the word about this campaign to others. Share our video on social media from Wednesday 7 November to help us reach more people with this important message, using #SmallTalkSavesLives


Samaritans is a charity and we are always here for anyone struggling to cope. We receive a call for help every six seconds. Help us to be there for anyone in need. Please donate today and you could help save a life. You can also sign up to receive our newsletter here.