Megan’s story

2023 RailStaff Award winner Megan works for ScotRail as an external relations assistant. She was commended after she intervened to help a vulnerable person at a station.

“In January 2023, I was on shift responding to customer queries on social media. It was a Saturday afternoon, and I was working alone. The shift hadn’t been too busy, but towards the end of it, a message came through on our WhatsApp from a person who said they wanted to apologise to the driver of one of our services. They said it was nothing personal and they hoped it wouldn’t affect the driver for too long.


I knew something wasn’t right. There were no identifying details from the message – apart from their name - so I responded by offering to help and speak to them.


"The messages I got back made it clear they wanted to take their own life. I also tried to get some information out of them to try and find out where they were.

“Eventually, I found out which station they were at and called the control room and the CCTV team to alert them to the situation. I phoned the station I thought the person was at and asked them to go outside to check if anyone was on the platform. They found them and British Transport Police (BTP) also attended and took the person to a place of safety.    

“I was relived they were okay, but it was a very stressful situation. This is the second time this had happened to me, but both times, we managed to get someone out to them in time.

“The first time was slightly different; the person came through on social media very late at night and was actively asking for help. They were on a train, and I managed to find out which one and where they were getting off, just in time for BTP officers to get to them.

“Having completed the Samaritans’ Managing Suicidal Contacts course, I knew I had to keep them talking and try and get as much information out of them as possible. Especially as I couldn’t see what was going on and very little detail to work with. I knew I had to be careful in what I was saying and not risk saying anything that could come across negatively. Despite the fact I am not a member of staff who interacts with passengers face-to-face, having the skills from the course is still important. It does make it difficult when you aren’t in front of the person who needs help, because you can’t see their body language and sometimes – as with both of the incidents I’ve been involved with – there’s very little information to go by. You don’t really know what you’re up against if you can’t see the person.

“That being said, it is important know what actions to take such as calling the control room or the CCTV operators.

However, part of it is going with your gut feeling and determining who will be able to get to that person and get them to a place of safety the fastest.

"It’s so important for our staff to do the course because you just never know when you’re going to need to use those skills.”

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