New campaign aims to help people with suicidal thoughts

By Antony Clay | 15/11/2017

New campaign aims to help people with suicidal thoughts

TRAIN commuters are being urged to support a suicide prevention campaign — by talking to people.

The Small Talk Saves Lives campaign — by Samaritans, British Transport Police (BTP) and the rail industry — aims to help travellers spot vulnerable people with suicidal thoughts.

Small Talk Saves Lives aims to get the public to look out for fellow passengers who might need help, as illustrated in a new film that has gone live.

The campaign wants commuters to spot vulnerable people and talk to them to interrupt their suicidal thoughts.

Passengers are being encouraged to notice warning signs in people with suicidal thoughts, such as a person standing alone and isolated, looking distant or withdrawn, staying on the platform a long time without boarding a train, or displaying something out of the ordinary in their behaviour or appearance.

Different courses of action are suggested, depending on the situation and the response. They range from approaching the person and asking them a question to distract them from their thoughts, or alerting a member of rail staff or calling the police.

Sarah Wilson, who felt suicidal but was helped when somebody spoke to her, inspired the making of a video to promote the campaign.

Sarah said: “Someone showing that they cared about me helped to interrupt my suicidal thoughts and that gave them time to subside.

“The more that people understand that suicide is preventable, the better.

“I hope people will share the video and that the campaign will encourage people to trust their gut instincts and start a conversation if they think someone could need help. You won’t make things worse, and you could save a life.”

BTP chief constable Paul Crowther, national strategic policing lead for suicide prevention, said: “Our officers make lifesaving interventions on the railway every day, together with rail staff and members of the public.

“We know from experience that when someone is in distress, simply engaging them in conversation can make all the difference and help set them on the road to recovery.

“It makes sense to let the public know that this simple act can help. We’re not suggesting people intervene if they don’t feel comfortable or safe to do so. They can tell a member of rail staff or a police officer — many of whom have been trained by Samaritans — or call 999.”

To find out more, visit www.samaritans.org/smalltalksaveslives. 

People can also support the campaign  by following @samaritanscharity on Instagram or sharing the video on Twitter @samaritans or Facebook at www.facebook.com/samaritanscharity, using the hashtag #SmallTalkSavesLives.



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