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Talk, listen and help – Samaritans Lifesaver Award

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As part of Samaritans’ suicide prevention partnership with Network Rail, the charity is again sponsoring the Lifesaver Award at the RailStaff Awards 2015.

Now in its fourth year, the Lifesaver Award aims to recognise the pre-emptive actions of station staff, train crew, track workers, British Transport Police (BTP) officers and the many railway staff who by timely intervention have prevented a potential fatality.

Rail suicides continue to be a tragic issue for the rail industry, however there were over 800 reported life-saving interventions in 2014/15, carried out by rail industry personnel including BTP officers, train operating staff and Network Rail personnel.

Samaritans are delighted to be sponsoring the Lifesaver award again at this year’s RailStaff Awards. This award seeks to recognise those individuals who have intervened to potentially save the life of a vulnerable person on the rail network, and to demonstrate that talking and listening to someone in need can make a huge difference.

Matt Lenton from Southern Railway won the award last year for his great work at Hassocks station, helping a man in need. Matt’s account, along with accounts from many other rail personnel and BTP officers is included on the new Suicide Prevention and Support on the Railway: Learning Tool developed by the rail industry’s National Suicide Prevention Steering Group (NSPSG). The Learning Tool comprises a series of short videos and seeks to engage the rail industry en masse, increasing vigilance and empowering viewers to make an intervention. The Learning Tool is available to all rail personnel and can be viewed online at www.nspsglearningtool.co.uk.

Samaritans also continues to deliver the one-day Managing Suicidal Contacts course that has been delivered to over 10,000 personnel to date and provides delegates with the skills and confidence to help someone in need on the rail network, as well as teaching valuable listening skills that are relevant in everyday life.

The Managing Suicidal Contacts training team won the Training Team of the Year award at last year’s RailStaff Awards and the course averages an evaluation score of 4.8 out of 5. If you are interested in attending the course please e-mail: [email protected].

The Samaritans/Network Rail partnership was formed in 2010 with the aim of reducing railway suicides and improving the support available to those affected by them.

Paul Curtis of Rail Media is a strong supporter of the Network Rail – Samaritans partnership and sadly has direct personal experience of railway suicide. ‘I know from my own experience this is a source of continuing distress for those left behind.

‘Suicide on the railways remains a big challenge for us all. ’

Paul lost his sister-in-law’s brother in a railway suicide and has since been a vigorous supporter of measures to reduce suicide. The aim of the award is to draw attention to the many instances of railway staff intervention which have served to save life, ‘If you know of a colleague who has prevented someone from taking their life on the railway in the last year please consider nominating them for Samaritans Lifesaver Award,’ says Paul.


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