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'Small talk saves lives' - you have all the experience you need

'Small talk saves lives' - you have all the experience you need

Published by the Eagle Radio News Team at 3:39pm 16th July 2019.

You might not realise it, but you already have the experience you need to help save a life on a train platform.

If you see someone on a platform who you think might need help, trust your instincts and start a conversation.

You could help save a life.

The Samaritan's are reminding people to look out for those at risk with their 'Small Talk Saves Lives' campaign. 

It was first launched in 2017 and last year figures revealed a 20% increase in the number of times the public has acted to prevent suicide on the tracks., 

The campaign video and a special station announcement for rail commuters across the UK, voiced by TV and radio presenter, Gaby Roslin.

She’s backing Small Talk Saves Lives after stopping to talk to someone in a park when she noticed something wasn’t right.

“The little conversations we have every day can be all that’s needed to interrupt suicidal thoughts.

"Once you know that you have the power to make a difference, you’re more likely to step in and do something. I wanted to get involved in the Small Talk Saves Lives campaign after noticing someone in a park and trusting my instincts. Just a few words can have a huge impact.” 

Gaby Roslin

Small Talk Saves Lives was developed after research showed passengers could have a key role to play in suicide prevention, along with the thousands of rail staff and British Transport Police now trained by Samaritans.

For every life lost on the railway, six are saved by those around them.

Small Talk Saves Lives
The Samaritans are encouraging rail passengers to spot the warning signs of a suicidal person.

Samaritans CEO Ruth Sutherland said:

“It’s really heartening to see more members of the public feeling they have the confidence and knowledge to act if they’re worried about someone, and we’re grateful for their support.

"Suicide is preventable and any one of us could have an opportunity to save a life.

"And a study shows some of us make small talk more than ten times a day.

“A phrase as simple as, ‘I can’t believe this weather’, could be enough to interrupt a person’s suicidal thoughts. Even if small talk doesn’t come naturally to you, if something doesn’t feel right, please try to start a conversation. There’s no evidence you’ll make things worse.”

Small Talk Saves Lives encourages rail passengers to notice what may be warning signs, e.g. a person standing alone and isolated, looking distant or withdrawn, staying on the platform a long time without boarding a train or displaying something out of the ordinary in their behaviour or appearance.

There is no single sign or combination of behaviours that mean a person is suicidal but, if something doesn’t feel right, the message is to act.