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More East Anglian rail staff trained to reduce the number of suicides

PUBLISHED: 15:55 31 January 2018 | UPDATED: 15:55 31 January 2018

Greater Anglia manager Scott Paton was given an award for helping to save a woman in Colchester. Picture: GREATER ANGLIA

Greater Anglia manager Scott Paton was given an award for helping to save a woman in Colchester. Picture: GREATER ANGLIA

Archant

Greater Anglia employees have seen the number of interventions when they have helped prevent a suicide on the tracks rise significantly over the last three years.

In 2015 staff stepped in 37 times to stop someone from harming themselves on the tracks. In 2016 they intervened 43 times and last year there were 60 occasions when Greater Anglia staff helped someone threatening to hurt themselves.

Over that time there has been a 17% reduction in suicides on the rail network.

More Greater Anglia staff – 230 so far – have signed up to the Samaritans’ Managing Suicidal Contacts course, a one-day course tailored specifically to people working within the rail industry.

It focuses on the benefits of a short conversation with someone who may be experiencing suicidal feelings and the techniques required to sensitively support that person and help begin their recovery.

Scott Paton won the Samaritans’ Lifesaver award for his outstanding efforts, after he intervened when a man was on the track at Hythe station in 2016. The MSC course gave him the confidence and skills to speak to the man and take him to a safe place.

Jay Thompson, Head of Safety at Greater Anglia, said: “The MSC course has been very useful for our colleagues. Incidents of this nature are very distressing for all involved.

“In October 2017 there were 14 interventions on our network – the highest number ever recorded. I commend all of our colleagues who have helped to save lives.”

These incidents can also cause lengthy delays to passengers.

Samaritans’ Managing Suicidal Contacts trainer Rob Christopher said: “Our course provides delegates with a greater understanding of how someone can reach a point of crisis, and gives them the skills to sensitively support that person by encouraging them to talk and knowing how to listen effectively. ”

Richard Tew, Network Rail’s head of safety for Anglia, said: “Network Rail has trained nearly 200 of its staff in the Anglia region through its partnership with the Samaritans.

“The training has equipped them with the skills and confidence to identify and approach vulnerable people on the railway and lead them to a safe place.”

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