Published on : Saturday, July 1, 2017
Since April last year, 1,593* potentially life-saving interventions have been carried out across Britain’s rail network by rail staff, British Transport Police, local police and members of the public – an increase of 40 per cent on the previous year.
At the same time, suicides and suspected suicides on the rail network have dropped from 253 to 237** since 1 April 2016, showing a steady decline in rail suicides for the second year in a row. This means that rail suicides have fallen by 18 per cent in two years and 2016/17 represents the lowest yearly figure since 2010.
It’s encouraging to see the number of suicides on the railway fall for the second year in a row, and hopefully this trend continues in line with our ongoing suicide prevention work.
It’s great to be able to say that around one in six rail staff are now trained in suicide prevention, and that their commitment to preventing suicides on the railway is translating into actual lives saved on the ground. Put simply, we are now more likely to intervene and prevent people being injured or killed through suicide attempts on the railway.
As the operators of the rail network in Britain, we have a responsibility to keep passengers, staff and members of the public safe. Alongside physical measures such as new barriers, fencing and lighting at stations, we will continue our work with Samaritans to prevent suicides and break down the stigma associated with mental health issues.
Ian Stevens, who manages the suicide prevention programme on behalf of the rail industry.
As the new figures are released, the partnership is marking the 15,000th member of rail staff trained in suicide prevention.
Samaritans deliver two training courses as part of the partnership – a course for railway staff and BTP officers teaching them how to identify and approach potentially suicidal people, and trauma support training aimed at those who may be affected by suicide on the railway.