Why do people take their lives on the railway?

June 4, 2019 12:44 pm Published by

The rail industry commissioned research in 2016 from Middlesex University and University of Westminster which sought to answer the question ‘Why do people choose to take their lives on the GB rail network?’. The key findings of this research, which was undertaken with the involvement of those who have contemplated taking their own lives and those who have survived a suicide attempt on the railway suggest that:

  • Rail suicide was considered to be 100% lethal.  Suggesting otherwise might make some think twice about using this method
  • Media reporting and passenger announcements related to suicides on the railway have the potential to influence others to choose it as a method
  • Social media amplifies the impact of suicide on the railway and some websites actively encourage it as a ‘fool proof’ means
  • Access to the railway is considered to be easy
  • An increasing awareness of the industry’s intervention programme is deterring people from rail suicide because they believe their attempt will be thwarted by a member of staff
  • Concern that train drivers would be traumatised by being involved in such an event made people consider other means. Conversely a knowledge that drivers are supported following traumatic events made others consider the railway as a means of suicide believing that no one would be hurt by their actions

The final report can be downloaded in two versions: FULL or ABRIDGED.

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This post was written by Mark