Rail passengers can save the lives of suicidal people ... and the Samaritans will show you how.

The Samaritans in Huddersfield are launching a campaign with British Transport Police, Network Rail and the wider rail industry to give travellers the confidence to trust their instincts and act if they notice someone who may be at risk of suicide in or around a station.

Small Talk Saves Lives has been developed after research showed passengers have a key role to play in suicide prevention.

Figures show that someone will attempt to take their own life on the UK rail network every 31 hours.

The campaign aims to give the public the information to spot a potentially vulnerable person, start a conversation with them and let them know support is available, including contacting Samaritans.

Cat, left, Zahra, Georgia, Hannah, Liz, Glyn, Jess and Steph of the Huddersfield Samaritans branch
Cat, left, Zahra, Georgia, Hannah, Liz, Glyn, Jess and Steph of the Huddersfield Samaritans branch

The campaign draws on insights from successful interventions made by rail staff who have been trained by Samaritans in suicide prevention. For each life lost, six are saved and the hope is to get more people involved.

Volunteers from Huddersfield Samaritans will be at Huddersfield Railway Station tomorrow (Wednesday, November 22) from 10am to 3pm to talk about the campaign and how members of the public can help.

Christine, Director of Huddersfield Samaritans said; ‘Suicide is everybody’s business and any one of us could have an opportunity to save a life. The knowledge and skills to save lives in the rail environment can be applied to many other situations. We hope that Small Talk Saves Lives is the start of a much wider conversation about how suicide is preventable.”

To coincide with the campaign a train driver has spoken about how he is still haunted by a suicide 10 years after it happened.

Sean Tansey, dad-of-three and driver of 17 years, from Bury, said: “Even now, 10 years later, I can still picture his face. He looked straight up at me. It’s as clear now as it was then.”

After that day, Sean’s nightmares lasted months. He says the most overwhelming emotion was sympathy for the young man, his family - and their avoidable loss.

Photograph of Sean Tansey at his house on Leyton Drive, Bury Sean, a train driver who hit someone on the tracks Vincent Cole 01 11 Nov 2017

Sean added: “Before this happened I used to have an attitude like a lot of people - that it was a selfish thing to take your own life this way.

“Now I realise that to do this you must be in such a dark place. They aren’t doing it to annoy anyone or make anyone late home. That’s the last thing on their mind. They are thinking solely ‘my perception of my life is that bad I’ve got to end it’.

“It’s shown me the importance of always trying to understand how other people are feeling - and doing everything you can to help them, to speak to them.”

Anyone can contact Samaritans for free any time from any phone on 116 123, even a mobile without credit, and the number won’t show up on your phone bill. Or email jo@samaritans.org or visit the Huddersfield branch at 14 New North Parade to talk to a trained volunteer face-to-face.