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SAMARITANS - Small talk saves lives Campaign



Just four months on from its launch, the Small Talk Saves Lives campaign developed by Samaritans, British Transport Police, Network Rail and the wider rail industry, has increased the chances the public will act if they see someone who may be at risk of suicide.

The campaign aims to give train travellers the confidence to start a conversation, which in turn could interrupt suicidal thoughts and start a person on a journey to recovery.

Its centrepiece, ‘Sarah’s Story’, is a video shot on a station at commuter time, with an announcer appearing to alert passengers to a suspected suicide. It’s revealed that the person on the microphone is in fact telling her own story – one of hope and recovery because someone took the time to talk to her.

Research shows 1 in 3 adults say they are aware of the campaign.*  It’s reached more than 17 million people on social media with 5.7 million people watching the video.

Surveys carried out before and after the campaign revealed:**

  • 49% of respondents felt Small Talk Saves Lives had increased or reinforced their intent to act if they noticed somebody who may be suicidal or dealing with difficult thoughts; of those, there was a 10% increase in people saying they would be extremely likely to intervene if someone was showing signs of distress
  • 47% said it had increased or reinforced their confidence to recognise someone who needed help and may be at risk if suicide; of those, 12% felt it increased their understanding of who might be contemplating suicide at a train station
  • 42% said the campaign had increased or reinforced their knowledge of how to intervene in a safe and effective way to help someone who may be suicidal

Samaritans CEO Ruth Sutherland said:Suicide prevention is everybody’s business and any one of us could have an opportunity to save a life. So, it’s heartening to see this campaign increasing the public’s understanding that suicide is preventable, and empowering many more people to act if they see someone at risk. Together with BTP, Network Rail and the wider rail industry, we’ll continue to promote Small Talk Saves Lives to achieve even greater awareness of how to make a difference.”

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