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West Midlands Help Combat Suicides on Railway Transport

West Midlands Help Combat Suicides on Railway Transport

A campaign is being held underway in the West Midlands to help combat and reduce the rate of suicides on railway transport around this time of year. With January being one of the darkest calendar years and in the wake of a perhaps over-festive season for many, anxiety and depression can affect many of us and has resulted in a peak number of suicides along the transport networks of this country. Last year alone, 460 cases were looked into by West Midlands officials as resulting from poor mental health as well as 21 cases that were suspected to have resulted in suicide.

Some have referred to this as ‘Blue Monday,’ but whatever the phenomenon is it is imperative that passengers and transport officials remain vigilant of these sad and tragic events and that they work together to give these individuals the support that they need. One possible solution for this was the implementation of individuals known as ‘Rail Pastors’ along the railway networks and in areas in and around the train stations.

Comprised entirely of volunteers trained to speak to individuals that seem upset in some way, this is a new and original way to helping individuals that was set in motion in Barnet as far back as 2014, and it is now being implemented along the railway networks in the West Midlands. As a BTP inspector working from Birmingham explained, research has indicated that there is only a tiny matter of minutes ranging between 20 and 30 in which an individual in distress can be withheld from committing suicide and can receive the help that they need. Of course, it would be fanciful to think that all potential suicide casualties could be prevented by the implementation of these ‘Pastors,’ but it is nevertheless a well-meaning effort and a sign that officials are deeply concerned with the safety and peace of mind of all of their passengers.

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