Samaritans’ life-saving work with the rail industry is recognised by the Charity Times Awards

Samaritans, Network Rail, British Transport Police and the Rail Industry Suicide Stakeholder Group have been nominated for a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) award in this year’s prestigious Charity Times Awards.

Their suicide prevention programme has been nominated for CSR Project of the Year.  Staff working in the rail environment are trained to spot anyone who may be at risk of taking their own life and lead them to safety and sources of support. The programme also creates awareness-raising campaigns that encourage people to reach out for help before they get to a point of crisis, and Samaritans works with rail staff and the public, offering emotional support following traumatic incidents of death or injury. The listening skills shared impact positively beyond the industry into wider society, as well as the family and social networks of the staff involved

Ian Stevens, who manages the Suicide Prevention Programme on behalf of Network Rail and the wider rail industry, said:  "Our work with Samaritans, the British Transport Police and the rail industry to prevent suicides on the rail network is something we are incredibly passionate about, and we feel very proud that our hard work in this area is being recognised. We know that suicide is a complex issue and it is only by coming together that we have the ability to make real progress, and encourage more people to seek the help and support they need before they reach crisis point. 

"Over the past six years more than 12,000 rail staff and transport police officers have been trained to equip them with the skills and confidence they need to approach and support those who may be vulnerable, and we know that these interventions are helping to save lives across the country. We look forward to continuing this important work with our industry partners and training more of our staff over the coming months so we can go even further in preventing suicides across our network."

The number of suicides on the railways fell by 12% last year, the first time there has been an annual reduction since 2012.

Mark Smith, Head of Suicide Prevention and Mental Health at British Transport Police, said: “Sadly, deaths on the railway are something our officers have to deal with on a regular basis and so we are committed to making sure people get the support they need before reaching crisis. We are proud that the work we’re doing with each of our partners is being recognised and hope it will go some way to making sure people know who they can turn to when they need help.”

Ola Rzepczynska, Samaritans’ Strategic Programme Manager said: “Suicide is everybody’s business. By joining up with industry and employers to train staff in suicide prevention techniques and raise awareness of Samaritans’ services, we can save lives. We are grateful to the rail industry for leading the way in ground breaking partnership work and hope that this nomination will inspire other sectors to look at how suicide prevention can be incorporated into their CSR activities too.”

The Charity Times Awards take place in London this evening, Wednesday 28 September.  Samaritans’ Managing Suicidal Contacts and Trauma Support Training Team have also been nominated for Training Team of the Year at the annual Rail Staff Awards in October. The partnership’s use of 360 video content for Samaritans’ We Listen campaign has been nominated for an innovative marketing award in the Drum Content Awards, with winners announced in November.

For more information, images and interviews, please contact press@samaritans.org or call 020 8394 8300.

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Notes to Editors