For immediate release:


New figures released on the 8th November by Network Rail show that more people across the country are intervening to prevent suicide on Scotland’s railway following the launch of the Small Talk Saves Lives campaign last year.

The Small Talk Save Lives campaign was developed after research suggested that for every life lost on the railway, six are saved by those around them.

In 2017-18, members of the public and rail staff intervened 10 times to help vulnerable people on the Scottish network compared to five in 2016-17. So far this year (2018-19), there have been five interventions across Scotland.

Across the UK, there were 163 interventions to prevent a suicide by members of the public between January and September this year – a 20 per cent increase. The latest annual figures show a total 1,711 interventions were made by staff, British Transport Police, local police and the public.

Sadly, 249 people took their lives on the rail network in 2017/18.

The figures coincide with the launch of a new phase of the Small Talk Saves Lives campaign, which emphasises how each of us has all the experience we need to help save a life.

Rutherglen MSP Clare Haughey, who is also the Minister for Mental Health, has backed the campaign.

Ms Haughey previously met with another initiative called the Conversation Café which aims to engage passengers in conversations about mental health issues, signposting them or their friends and family to someone they can talk to in confidence when they are feeling down.

Commenting, Rutherglen MSP Clare Haughey said:

“Over the past decade, Scotland has made real progress in reducing deaths by suicide but we have more to do. We want a Scotland where suicide is preventable, and although politicians, the NHS and the third sector play a major role in trying to archive this, the public’s help is also of huge importance.

“The same small talk we use every day can be enough to interrupt someone’s suicidal thoughts and may encourage someone to get the help they need. You might be concerned you will ‘make things worse’, but there’s no evidence that will happen.

“Even saying a simple phrase like ‘I can’t believe this weather’ could be enough to change someone’s life, so please trust your instincts and start a conversation.”



Further information can be found here:


Date published: 8th November 2018

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