In 2010 Network Rail (on behalf on the rail industry) entered a partnership with Samaritans with the aim to reduce suicides on the rail network in Great Britain. Nationally there had been a reduction in suicide up to 2010, a pattern not reflected on the railways. The partnership is very much a pioneering one in that, although a commercial contract it brings a private and voluntary organisation together to tackle a huge and complex societal issue.
Samaritans is a national suicide prevention charity whose vision is that fewer people die by suicide. They make sure there’s someone there for anyone who needs someone. Every year they answer more than 5 million calls for help via a unique 24-hour listening service, email, letter, face to face and through the Welsh language service.
To meet the industry’s objective, Samaritans created a programme with three main workstreams; Training, Communications and Outreach.
Over the past 10 years the partnership has gone from strength to strength. Together we have trained more people in suicide prevention techniques than any other transport sector, we have increased the number of interventions made in suicide attempts year on year and over the next five years the rail industry has committed to volunteering one million hours through the ‘Million Hour Challenge’ to help Samaritans achieve their vision.