Suicide prevention learning tool wins national charity award

An innovative suicide prevention website designed to help rail network staff spot the signs of potential incidents has won the ‘Best use of technology’ category in this year’s annual Charity Times Awards.

Employees have access to downloadable video-based learning modules and guidelines on how talk to vulnerable people and resolve the situation by liaising with the British Transport Police, the emergency services or partners such as Samaritans.

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Ian Stevens, the head of the Network Rail suicide prevention programme, said: “Any death on the railway is a tragedy, but the impact is felt not only by those who knew the person but by the train driver and station staff and those who are involved in the aftermath. We want to do everything we can to stop this from happening, and if it does, to help our people deal with it.

“The online learning tool has been developed to supplement the extremely successful training courses that Samaritans deliver for railway staff. It has helped us to reach out to thousands more of our people and provide them with guidance, reassurance and skills to understand a difficult and sensitive situation, and make a positive difference. I’m pleased everyone involved with this project has been recognised with this award, but the real prize is the potential lives it will save.”   

The Charity Times organised the ceremony on Wednesday, 7th October, to recognise excellence in the sector. Samaritans, Network Rail, British Transport Police, East Midlands Trains and Quadrant Events received the award on behalf of the wider industry for their partnership in developing the web-based package.

On average one person attempts or completes suicide on the British rail network every 31 hours and incidents on the tracks affect rail staff as well as passengers and the victim’s relatives. By partnering with Samaritans, Network Rail has an aspiration to reach over one hundred thousand rail industry staff through a combination of face-to-face training and the new online learning materials, which give staff the skills and confidence to intervene.

Ruth Sutherland, Samaritans CEO said: “We are delighted with this award. Samaritans and the rail industry have been working hard to roll out the learning tool, which has been developed to raise awareness of suicide prevention and support available to staff on the railways. It has now been seen by 8,000 railway workers.

“It is a unique partnership, and takes a proactive approach in order to equip people with the skills to reach out to those who are vulnerable, working closely with Network Rail, the British Transport Police and the Train Operating Companies.”


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