You have all the experience you need to help save a life
Did you know a little small talk can be all it takes to interrupt someone’s suicidal thoughts?
Samaritans launched Small Talks Saves Lives together with Network Rail, British Transport Police and the wider rail industry to empower the public to use small talk to save lives on the railways and beyond.
It’s a small but simple thing. If you think somebody might need help, trust your instincts and strike up a conversation. You can’t make things worse.
How to start a conversation
Why we're doing this
Small Talk Saves Lives is a campaign to empower the public to act to prevent suicide on the railways and other settings. Suicide is preventable and suicidal thoughts are often temporary and can be interrupted. We want to give as many people as possible the skills to notice if someone might be at risk and give them the confidence to approach them. A simple question or observation can be all it takes to interrupt suicidal thoughts and start the journey to recovery. We’re reminding people that they already know how to start a conversation, giving them the confidence to act.
Research 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.
We have worked in partnership with British Transport Police, Network Rail and the wider rail industry to develop the campaign. 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 notice if someone may be at risk and then start a conversation by asking a simple question, so making small talk.
We have also consulted individuals who have experienced suicidal thoughts, those who have lost loved ones to suicide, people who regularly travel by train, and the general public. We wanted to make sure we considered a range of experiences when developing the campaign.
An example of the importance of our campaign is Sarah's story. A stranger on a train platform helped stop Sarah from taking her own life. With Sarah's permission, we used her story to develop the first phase of the campaign and show others how small talk saved her life.*
*Sarah's name has been changed
Support the campaign
There are lots of ways you can support Small Talk Saves Lives and raise awareness of the lifesaving difference it can make.
Follow and share the campaign on Twitter.