ScotRail aiming to save lives with new app

ScotRail has launched a new app for all employee phones and tablets to help prevent suicides on the railway.

Developed by Network Rail in partnership with Samaritans and the wider rail industry, the app gives employees guidance on possible warning signs and how best to support someone in need. It also provides a direct link to the British Transport Police for immediate support and advice.

The app is now available to all 4,500 ScotRail employees on their smartphones and tablets and is in addition to Samaritans’ specialist suicide prevention training that more than 300 ScotRail Alliance colleagues have completed.

The app has been available on all Network Rail Scotland employee devices since 2017.

The ScotRail Alliance is also supporting the ‘Small Talk Saves Lives’ campaign, which aims to give travellers the confidence to act if they notice someone who may be at risk of suicide on or around the rail network.

People are being reminded that if they concerned about someone they see on the railway or elsewhere, they should trust their instincts:

  • Suicidal thoughts can often be temporary.
  • Strike up a conversation with a simple question such as asking about the weather, or where they’re travelling today.
  • If you think someone may need help, introduce yourself, encourage them to talk and focus on listening. 
  • There’s no evidence that talking to someone who could be at risk can make things worse. 
  • It’s important to act. If you don’t feel comfortable approaching the person yourself, tell a member of staff, a police officer or dial 999.

David Lister, ScotRail Alliance sustainability & safety assurance director, said:

“The ScotRail Alliance takes its commitment to supporting those with mental health problems very seriously.

“Encountering someone in distress on the railway can be a daunting experience, even for the most experienced of our people. That’s why we’ve launched this app for ScotRail employees, to offer quick help and advice to those who come across someone who needs urgent support.

“Thanks to the work done by the rail industry and Samaritans, for every life lost on the railway, six are saved.”

James Jopling, Executive Director for Samaritans in Scotland, said:

“Suicide is not inevitable and any one of us could have an opportunity to save a life. By empowering their staff to act if they see someone at risk, the rail industry continues to make great efforts in reducing and preventing suicide across Scotland.”

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