World Suicide Prevention Day: Motivational messages unveiled at St Albans railway station

PUBLISHED: 12:10 10 September 2020

Affirmation Art at St Albans Station on World Suicide Prevention Day. Picture: Peter Alvey

Affirmation Art at St Albans Station on World Suicide Prevention Day. Picture: Peter Alvey

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‘Affirmation Art’ has been unveiled at St Albans train station to raise awareness of the support available to vulnerable people as part of World Suicide Prevention Day.

Affirmation Art at St Albans Station on World Suicide Prevention Day. Picture: Peter AlveyAffirmation Art at St Albans Station on World Suicide Prevention Day. Picture: Peter Alvey

A team of artists chalked motivational messages across entrances and exits, including ‘We’re with you’, ‘Don’t suffer in silence’ and ‘It’s OK not to be OK’.

The initiative was devised by Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) in collaboration with Samaritans, Network Rail and British Transport Police, as part of the company’s drive to encourage others to develop a greater depth of understanding regarding the complexities and issues associated with suicide.

GTR has also appointed Laura Campbell as its first suicide prevention manager, who will be working to proactively reduce suicide on the network.

She explained: “Being able to help people is the thing that gets me up every morning.

Affirmation Art at St Albans Station on World Suicide Prevention Day. Picture: Peter AlveyAffirmation Art at St Albans Station on World Suicide Prevention Day. Picture: Peter Alvey

“I’m really worried about people’s mental health following the pandemic. There is a higher chance that individuals will feel overwhelmed with their situation. It’s OK not to be OK, which is why we’re increasing support to passengers during these unnerving times.

“For me, suicide prevention is a year-round priority – but it is great to be able to raise awareness of the cause in September in line with World Suicide Prevention Day.”

Having personal experience of the trauma suicide can leave behind is the main reason why Laura took on the role: “My grandmother sadly took her own life on the railway when my mum was just four years old. Back then, there wasn’t the support around that there is now and I don’t think she’s ever processed it properly. I was quite young when I found out it had happened and I remember being really shocked and just feeling so sad for my mum.

“She was concerned when I went into this line of work, but I was adamant to do it because my main focus is on how many people can be helped by all the work we’re doing to prevent suicide. I think it’s incredibly important that we’re doing something to stop it happening.

“My biggest piece of advice if you are struggling with mental health or the situation you are in is not to suffer in silence – we’re with you. Our station staff are always happy to talk and they can support you in getting the help you need.”

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