While all RailStaff Awards nominees are outstanding individuals, those put forward for the Samaritans Lifesaver Award are true, real-life heroes, each one of them having supported someone when they are most in need of help.
Training rail staff to give them the confidence and skills to help someone at risk of suicide is a key part of Samaritans’ work across the rail industry, as part of its suicide prevention programme and Network Rail partnership. Since 2010, Samaritans has trained more than 27,000 rail staff, as well as British Transport Police (BTP), in suicide prevention.
Samaritans works closely with the UK rail industry to reduce suicides and support those affected, including award-winning awareness campaigns such as Small Talk Saves Lives. Delivered in partnership with Network Rail and BTP, and supported by the wider rail industry, the campaign reminds people that they already have the skills, and to simply trust their instincts and start a conversation with a question such as ‘hello, what’s the time?’. This can be all it takes to interrupt someone’s suicidal thoughts and start them on their path to recovery.
Shane Davis, a mobile operations manager at Network Rail, took home the Samaritans Lifesaver award in 2022.
On 5 December 2021, Shane had been called to an incident concerning a distressed male who had placed himself on an overbridge, with the railway situated below. When Shane arrived at the bridge the man was sat with his legs dangling over the edge. He could clearly see that the individual was in a moment of crisis.
After asking for permission from the police onsite to approach, he engaged the man in conversation. Both Shane and the man opened up, discussing the things that they had both been through and discovering that they had a lot of common ground. They also talked through all of the different options for help. Shane showed real compassion and empathy when this person needed it the most. His quick thinking and perseverance resulted in the man stepping down from the ledge.
Samaritans is available day or night, for anyone who’s struggling to cope, and who needs someone to listen without judgement or pressure. Across communities, in prisons, schools, hospitals and on the rail network, Samaritans is working with people who are going through a difficult time and training others to do the same. It works tirelessly to reach more people and make suicide prevention a priority.
The charity is proud to sponsor the Lifesaver Award and looks forward to welcoming entries for the 2023 awards ceremony. To nominate any of your heroes for a Lifesaver Award, please visit www.railstaffawards.com.
For more information on Samaritans rail suicide prevention programme, or if you’re interested in training, please email [email protected].