The Sleeper's Blog

26.04.16

Partnership offers Samaritans’ number on train tickets

People in need of someone to talk to about their problems will have a reminder of someone to talk to printed on their train tickets under a new partnership between the Samaritans and Network Rail.

The new campaign, ‘We Listen’, will print the Samaritans’ logo and free to phone number, 116 123, as well as the strapline ‘We don’t just hear you, we listen’, on the back of train tickets, promoting the Samaritans as a free service where people struggling to cope can talk to sympathetic, trained volunteers.

To mark the start of the campaign, Paul Plummer, Rail Delivery Group CEO, presented former Olympic heavyweight boxing champion Audley Harrison MBE, who is the face of the campaign, with a giant train ticket at Harrison’s old boxing club, Repton Boys Club in Bethnal Green.

Plummer said: “Millions of rail tickets are sold every day so we’re only too pleased to support Samaritans’ ‘We Listen’ campaign and help make sure people know where to turn when they’re finding life tough.”

With UK rail passenger numbers at a record high, thousands of people buy train tickets every day, many of whom may be struggling to cope in their personal or professional lives but not be in touch with formal mental health support. The train tickets will therefore help to put them in contact with help they might not otherwise think to access.

Sadly, railways are also often a dangerous site for people in a crisis. Despite an excellent safety record overall, there were 294 deaths attributed to suspected or confirmed suicide or trespass on British railways last year.

Harrison said: “It’s a strength, not a weakness, to reach out for help. Let’s all get behind this campaign and let people know that if they don’t have to go it alone with their problems. If you don’t want to talk to friends or family, or feel you have nowhere to turn, Samaritans will listen.”

Paul McDonald, the Samaritans’ executive director of communications, policy and campaigns, said: “This is an opportunity to reach out to millions more people with our free helpline number. We’re pleased to have the support of the rail industry on ticket publicity as part of our wider rail programme, which aims to raise awareness that anyone can contact Samaritans, whatever you’re going through.”

From February 23 the Samaritans have also been running posters for the ‘We Listen’ campaign on stations across the country, with hidden messages showing that people who claim to be fine aren’t always.

For example, one says: “I’m alright with being single I guess. It’s not ideal for the kids, but they seem to be coping’, the real message being, ‘I’m not coping’.

Awareness of the role railways can play in providing emotional and psychological support to passengers and staff is growing, with Virgin recently announcing a partnership with the Mental Health Foundation.

If you need to contact the Samaritans, please call 116 123 (you don’t need credit and this number won’t show up on your phone bill), email jo@samaritans.org, or visit samaritans.org to find details of your nearest branch.

(Image c. Samaritans)

 

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