Published on : Friday, September 9, 2016
Railway staff, police officers and members of the public have saved over 1,100 people in 2015/16 having intervened in potential suicide attempts on Britain’s railway.Neena Naylor, a Network Rail train dispatcher at Birmingham New Street and a life-saver, said: “I suffered from depression and sought help but too many people, especially men, do not and find themselves at breaking point.
Through the training I received from Samaritans, I intervened when I saw someone in distress at my station and played my part in helping save someone’s life. We can all be more vigilant and potentially make a life-saving difference if we try.”
It was revealed that in 2015/16, there were 252 suicides on Britain’s railway. While this represented a 12% reduction on the previous year, bucking the national trend, more needs to be done to tackle this modern day killer.
Timed to coincide with World Suicide Prevention Day, leaders from a number of organisations spearheading suicide prevention met at Network Rail’s London Euston headquarters to challenge the taboo that exists, particularly amongst men, of talking about suicide.
Highlighting suicide as the single biggest killer of UK men aged under 50, the group looked to review progress that the railway industry has made in tackling suicide, and commit to plans to reduce the number of suicides taking place on the railway by encouraging people to seek help.Chairing the event, Network Rail’s chief executive and deputy chair of the Rail Delivery Group, Mark Carne said: “Any death on the railway is a tragedy which has a real emotional impact on the family and friends involved, and on our staff and customers. It’s a complex issue which the whole of society needs to work together to address.
“Men are three times more likely than women to die by suicide – it’s the single biggest killer of men aged under 50 in the UK. A large proportion of my 36,000-stong workforce are men and I want them to know its ok to talk – we must break down the taboo of talking about suicide. If anyone feels like they need support, it’s ok to ask for help.”
Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt said: “I pay tribute to the dedicated staff of Network Rail who are leading the way in preventing suicide. As a country, we tragically lose 13 people to suicide every day, and nearly three quarters of those people had no contact with NHS mental health services in the previous year.
“Though we are making progress, as one of the first countries in the world to launch waiting times for mental health services, giving people a guarantee on how quickly they can expect to be seen, we want to go much further. Our plans will see a million more people benefiting from mental health services every year, with £1 billion of extra money being invested to ensure everyone can get the help they need.”
The roundtable was attended by representatives from; the Department of Health, British Transport Police, Samaritans, Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), Rethink, and Network Rail, who discussed ways to drive down suicide rates further, progress to date, and what could be done differently in future.