Suicides on railways through St Albans district fall by nearly 100 per cent

PUBLISHED: 14:00 22 December 2017

Inspector Mike Boyce of the British Transport Police addresses the meeting. Photo: St Albans council.

Inspector Mike Boyce of the British Transport Police addresses the meeting. Photo: St Albans council.

Archant

The number of suicides on Thameslink railways which run through St Albans district was nearly zero this year.

This year, there was only one suspected suicide on the north Thameslink line, which runs through the district, compared to 13 last year.

St Albans council’s mental health champion Anthony Rowlands said: “Every suicide on the railway system is a tragedy which impacts on the lives of many people.

“It was reassuring to hear from senior figures working in the rail industry that effective and proactive partnership working has resulted in a heartening reduction in the number of suicides, and especially on lines serving Hertfordshire.

“We also heard about the contribution of the Samaritans who have played a major role in supporting the efforts of the rail industry.

“Our thanks go to all their volunteers for their selfless and dedicated work.”

The national figure for railway suicides decreased by 35 in 2015/16, to 252.

Credit has been paid to the Rail Industry Suicide Prevention Programme for helping reduce the number.

The programme is a multiple award winning national campaign bringing together Samaritans, National Rail, and rail operators.

Representatives from Govia Thameslink, British Transport Police, the Samaritans, and MIND attended the Suicide Prevention – Saving Lives on the Railways meeting at St Albans council to discuss their efforts.

Thameslink and Great Northern’s local development manager, Larry Heyman, said: “Around five per cent of all suicides take place on the railway.

“Appropriate intervention often prevents a human tragedy and can result in distressed people being referred to professionals who can open the door to the healthcare and support they so desperately need.

“Suicide is not a rail issue. It’s a societal issue.”

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