Small Talk Saves Lives – FAQs

Q. What is Small Talk Saves Lives?

A. Small Talk Saves Lives is a campaign to empower the public to act to prevent suicide on the railways. Suicide is preventable and suicidal thoughts are often temporary and can be interrupted. We want to give as many people as possible the tools to notice if someone may be at risk and the confidence to approach them. A simple question can be all it takes to interrupt suicidal thoughts and set that person on a journey to recovery.


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 on the railways.


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 with them by asking a simple question. A little small talk can be all that’s needed to interrupt suicidal thinking and start that person on a journey to recovery. Small talk really does save lives.


Q. How can I support the campaign

A. We will promote the campaign on social media from Wednesday 15 November until  Sunday 3 December. Please look out for it and share with your networks to help us reach more people with this important message.

Samaritans is a charity and we are always here for anyone struggling to cope. We receive a call for help every 6 seconds. Help us to be there for anyone in need. Please donate today and you could help save a life.