The rail industry has announced the “Million Hour Challenge”, which aims to encourage staff to donate their time, energy and skills to help the Samaritans support people in emotional crisis.
First revealed by ORR chief inspector Ian Prosser at Safestart, the campaign aims to see the industry give up one million hours to volunteer with the charity.
In addition, it hopes to raise £2.5 million, reduce the stigma of mental health issues amongst employees and promote a culture of more supportive workplaces.
The Million Hour Challenge is open to everyone in the industry. Organisations that have signed up so far include: Network Rail, ASLEF, RMT, ORR, RDG, TfL, RSSB, MTR Crossrail and BTP.
Volunteers can get involved in a variety of ways, but to begin with they are encouraged to complete two online learning courses; including an active listening course, which aims to provide the knowledge and confidence to start a conversation with someone who needs to talk.
ASLEF general secretary Mick Whelan said: “The Samaritans provide an enormously valuable service – a sympathetic ear and practical advice – to people who are distressed to the point where they are thinking of ending their lives.
“Those of us who work on the railway, as drivers, guards, and station staff, are only too well aware of the traumatic effect that such actions have; not only on the families and friends of those who take their own life, but on those of us who have to deal with the consequences.
“That’s why we welcome this new initiative, the five-year Million Hour Challenge, to help the Samaritans who, in turn, are always there for those who need them.”
For more information, visit millionhourchallenge.com.