Suicide Awareness – Talking to someone who may be at risk

World Suicide Prevention Day is an awareness day observed on 10 September every year, in order to provide worldwide commitment and action to prevent suicides, with various activities around the world since 2003.

The theme this year is –  Creating Hope Through Action.

In the UK, men are three times as likely to die by suicide than women. In the Republic of Ireland, the rate is four times higher among men than women.  While there has been a reduction in the number of people completing suicide over the last ten years, the numbers are still worryingly high.  World Suicide Prevention Day aims to start the conversation about suicide and to show that recovery is possible.



You might be worried that you’ll make things worse, but there’s no evidence to suggest that you will.

There’s no right or wrong way to approach someone. Trust your instincts and remember that you chat with people every day. You may still be helping even if you don’t get a response right away. Simply talking to someone and interrupting their thoughts may be all it takes to encourage them to reach out for support.

If you don’t feel it’s safe to make an approach, or you don’t feel comfortable doing so you can speak to a passer-by, call 999. If you are at a train station, tell a member of station staff or a fellow passenger. You could help save a life.

Signs someone may need help

How people act when they are struggling to cope is different for everyone. Here are some signs someone might be at risk in the rail environment.

– Standing alone or in an isolated spot

– Looking distant, withdrawn or upset

Trust your instincts. If someone looks out of place or you feel something isn’t quite right, try and start a conversation.

What to say

Remember that you chat with people every day. Here are some life-saving questions that you could ask?:

– It’s a warm evening isn’t it?

– What train are you going to get?

– What’s your name?

– Do you need any help?

– Are you okay?

Remember, if you don’t feel it’s safe to make an approach, call 999.

If you don’t feel comfortable…

Remember, if you don’t feel it’s safe to make an approach, call 999 or alert someone else.

What next?

Think SAM. These simple steps will help you guide the conversation.

Start the conversation

Small talk is a great start. You can ask them if they are okay, introduce yourself and encourage them to talk. There may be some silences before they respond, but just try to be yourself.

Alert others

You don’t have to manage this alone. If you’re are in a public place, get the attention of someone else passing by to alert someone or call the police. Ask the person if there’s someone you can call for them.

Move them to safety

Encourage them to sit down somewhere safe and quiet. You can suggest a hot drink somewhere – there might be members of staff around to support. You could mention sources of help, including Samaritans and their GP, as well as friends and family.

We do not recommend making physical contact. If the situation is an emergency call 999 immediately.

Looking after yourself

Your help can make a huge difference, but it might impact you too. You might feel emotional afterwards and you might what to talk about what’s happened. If you feel like you need support you can speak to Samaritans by calling 116 123

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