Network Rail has announced that it has joined up with Samaritans, British Transport Police, and the rest of the rail industry to promote the Small Talk Saves Lives campaign.
The campaign reminds members of the public that they all have the power to be life savers, simply by starting a conversation with someone who could be in crisis. Research from Samaritans revealed that only half of all adults would feel confident to approach and begin a conversation with someone they don’t know. Further research also showed that the British public would much rather speak to someone they don’t know over the phone or by email.
According to the research, the most popular reason given as to why people are less confident in striking up a conversation is that they were concerned that the person being approached wouldn’t welcome the approach, whilst others expressed concerns that they might make things worse or wouldn’t know what to say.
Andrew Haines, Chief Executive of Network Rail, said:
“Everybody who uses the railway, passengers, or staff, has the skills to be a life saver. Small Talk Saves Lives is about reminding us all that a little conversation can go a long way to help someone in crisis and divert their thoughts from suicide. I am ever so proud of our relationship with Samaritans and British Transport Police, and hope this next stage of the campaign helps educate more people on how they can potentially save a life.”
Over the course of the coming weeks, volunteers from Samaritans will be hosting outreach events in trains stations around the network. As part of the outreach events, volunteers will be speaking to passengers about how important it is to speak to people, as well as handing out leaflets and easing any concerns that people may have.
Samaritans CEO, Julie Bentley, said:
“It’s normal to feel anxious about starting a conversation with someone you don’t know in person, but at Samaritans we know first-hand how life-changing that conversation could be. Suicidal thoughts are often temporary and there’s no evidence to suggest that you will make the situation worse – it’s just about trusting your instincts, starting a conversation, and showing you care. We know it’s been a really challenging time for people’s mental health over the last few years, so we hope the Small Talk Saves Lives campaign builds that confidence and reminds the public of the difference they can make. Let’s continue to look out for one another – it could save a life.”