Samaritans rail trainers are one stop away from an award

Samaritans has been nominated for an award for its work training rail staff to prevent suicide.

The Rail Staff Awards recognise the achievements of people who work with and in the industry. Winners will be announced at a ceremony at the NEC in Birmingham on 29 November.

Since 2010, as part of their partnership with Network Rail and the wider rail industry Samaritans has trained almost 18,000 rail staff and British Transport Police officers with the skills to help someone at risk of suicide on the railway. Over 2500 have also been trained with skills to recognise the symptoms of trauma in colleagues and to help them seek support.

The Lifesaver Award, which is sponsored by Samaritans, will also recognise those who have shown courage and compassion by helping someone in crisis, supporting them and keeping them safe. This award aims to promote the fact that suicide is preventable and suicidal thoughts are often temporary, as highlighted in Samaritans’ Small Talk Saves Lives campaign.

Neil Peters, Samaritans Strategic Programme Manager for its work with the rail industry, said: “We are delighted to sponsor the Lifesaver Award again this year and we are proud to see our excellent training team in the running for an award too. Whether someone is in crisis, is suffering from trauma or going through a difficult time in their lives, we know from training 20,000 rail staff, and from 65 years of listening, that giving people the time and space to talk about their problems can make a real difference to that person’s life.”

Yvonne Monaghan, Suicide Prevention Manager at Greater Anglia, said: “Samaritans’ training courses are a key part of our work here on Greater Anglia to help reduce suicides and trauma on the railway. The training has enabled many colleagues to take the incredible step of saving the life of a vulnerable person on the railway, as well to understand better how to support their colleagues following a traumatic or distressing incident.”

Ian Stevens, Network Rail Programme Manager, said: “The training courses delivered by Samaritans on behalf of the rail industry are integral to our successful suicide prevention programme. All of the training courses run by Samaritans provide staff with listening skills that attendees have transferred into other areas of their work and home life too.”

For every life lost on the railway, six are saved by those around them by staff or the public noticing a person at risk*. More than sixty rail staff were put forward for the Lifesaver Award. Of the 15 shortlisted, not all had undergone Samaritans training when they successfully acted to save a life.

Find out more about the Rail Staff Awards and Small Talk Saves Lives or you can show your support by following the campaign on Instagram or sharing on Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #SmallTalkSavesLives.

For further information and interview requests, please contact Samaritans’ Press Office on 020 8394 8300 or

Notes to editors:

  • Due to the link between certain types of media reporting and increases in suicide rates, please note Samaritans’ Media Guidelines for Reporting Suicide and Rail Suicide factsheet.
  • *In 2016/17, there were 6.7 potentially life-saving interventions made for every suicide or suspected suicide on the railway. Figures calculated using data from the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) and British Transport Police (BTP).
  • Samaritans works in partnership with the rail industry and British Transport Police (BTP) to reduce suicides on the railway. This includes training railway employees and BTP staff to look out for and offer support to people who may be suicidal and working in the wider community to promote help-seeking behaviour. Find out more at:
  • Anyone can contact Samaritans for free in confidence any time from any phone on 116 123, even a mobile without credit, and the number won’t show up on your phone bill. Or email or go to to find details of your nearest branch where you can talk to one of their trained volunteers face to face.