Case study from a suicide prevention manager
Being able to help people is the thing that gets me out of bed every morning.
I work to proactively reduce suicide on the Govia Thameslink Railway network by working in partnership with a number of different departments and organisations, including The British Transport Police and Samaritans, as well as our own station managers and safety and security teams.
Govia Thameslink Railway is the only train operating company to have a dedicated suicide prevention manager; this is something I am really proud of. We really care for our people and the wider community so it’s not just about making our stations safer, it’s also about giving people the tools needed to support vulnerable people.
Suicide is preventable and lives are being saved every day – for every life lost on the railway, six are saved.
Mental health resources:
Our interventions – where people have potentially saved a life – have more than doubled in the last three years and I believe this is strongly linked to increased confidence due to the training support that my colleagues receive no matter their role in the company.
Every new starter at Govia Thameslink Railway has a three-and-a-half-hour training session on how to spot and assist a vulnerable person in their induction. We also work with Samaritans to provide training to front-line teams on managing suicidal contacts.
In addition to this, I am passionate about getting everyone in the company to complete the suicide prevention training that we put together in July last year. This training is delivered via a 30-minute e-learning package.
In a nutshell it tells you that you can’t make the situation worse. You should dial 999 if you believe the person is vulnerable and you should make sure that you approach safely. Saying 'hello' could be all that is needed to break the suicidal persons’ thought process and to enable you to move them to a place of safety.
We are also robust in our provision of support for those that have dealt with an incident offering trauma support training through TRiM (Trauma Risk Management), peer-to-peer options, our external support provider CareFirst, as well as an in-house counsellor and chaplaincy support.
Having personal experience of the trauma suicide can leave behind is the main reason why I took on the role of suicide prevention manager. 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; I don’t think she’s ever processed it properly.
I was quite young when I found out 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 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.
Hearing stories about our colleagues and members of the public who’ve gone above and beyond to save a life is just incredible and truly humbling. There are some really tough days in this job, but these stories make it so rewarding.
Laura Campbell is suicide prevention manager at Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR)