As the number of suicides and suicide attempts on railway lines continues to increase across the UK, it seems more members of the public are stepping in to help. According to figures released by Network Rail there were 163 cases of people acting to prevent suicide on the railway between January and September this year, compared to 136 in 2017, over the same period.
The suicide rate among male labourers is three times higher than the national average for men, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics. Research shows that low pay, lack of job security and long hours could be a cause of the incline. Furthermore, studies have shown that men in particular find it difficult to discuss their issues, in fear of judgement from their peers. Now more than ever it is essential that people feel safe enough to talk about their feelings within a working environment, so they can get the help and support they need.
RSS Infrastructure Ltd (RSSI), a leading supplier of infrastructure services, and Infra Skills Ltd, the UK’s premier safety critical and non-safety critical training provider, have developed a series of incentives for their Traumatic Incident Management scheme, trying tackle the increasing number of rail suicides each year.
Both RSSI and Infra Skills Ltd are committed to providing support to anyone who may have been involved in or witnessed a traumatic incident, because of the significant risk of developing a mental health condition as a result of trauma.
Plans are already underway to create a Wellbeing Network, with volunteers within the companies recently attending a Mental Health First Aid course. This course offered an in-depth introduction to the onset, nature and treatment of mental ill health. As well as providing an enhanced knowledge of the range of support, therapies and self-help strategies available. By the end of the two-day course the learners had also developed first aid skills for supporting people experiencing mental distress prior to professional involvement.
Completing the Mental Health First Aid course was the first step towards implementing a Safety Council within the companies. These ‘Wellbeing Champions’ will meet regularly to discuss initiatives, awareness and support.
The Traumatic Incident Plan is already in place, and this ensures that sufficient resources are available to all employees to raise awareness of the normal reaction to a potentially traumatic incident, and to embed principles of watchful waiting throughout the business. The support network for this incident plan will include their wellbeing champions and safety council.
Through these initiatives RSSI and Infra Skills Ltd are helping bolster the efforts that Network Rail have already achieved through their partnership with the Samaritans charity, creating the ‘Small Talk Saves Lives’ campaign. The increase of public interventions has risen by a staggering 20%, showing the huge impact this campaign, and other preventative initiatives are having within the industry.
For more information, or for a safe way to seek advice there are many helplines available.
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