On World Mental Health Day – Monday 10 October – Samaritans and rail partners Network Rail, and Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), as well as London North Eastern Railway (LNER), came together to raise awareness of Samaritans emotional support services and to encourage rail users to look after their own and each other’s mental wellbeing.
The challenges that people face up and down the country have been felt even more deeply over the past two years, as the pandemic and economic uncertainties continue to have a profound impact on the nation’s mental health – so, support is needed now more than ever. Every day, Samaritans volunteers respond to around 10,000 calls and, in 2021, Samaritans volunteers spent over one million hours supporting people who called the confidential helpline.
So, to remind passengers of available support and encourage mental health and wellbeing conversations, Samaritans volunteers from local branches were on hand at select stations across the East Coast Main Line route, from London King’s Cross to Durham, during the day to offer emotional support to passengers.
Seven local in-station cafes across the route, including Stevenage, Doncaster and Peterborough, were also collectively handing out 10,000 branded Samaritans cups, providing commuters with their purchased hot drinks featuring inspirational quotes from the charity’s ‘Real People, Real Stories’ campaign. The campaign is aimed at middle aged men who are most at risk of suicide, featuring real stories to encourage others to seek help by calling Samaritans.
Anne-Marie Alderson, Samaritans Regional Development Lead for East Coast Main Line and North East, said: “We are so thankful to the rail industry for their support in helping us spread this important message on World Mental Health Day. We know it’s a really challenging time and this reminds people that there is somewhere they can turn. Samaritans has worked in partnership with the rail industry since 2010 to remind rail staff and the public that talking really can save lives – whether that’s with a friend, a colleague or Samaritans who are always there to listen without judgement, on 116 123 or firstname.lastname@example.org. No matter how big or small your problems feel, it is important to remember you are not alone.”
Ivy Yeung, Network Rail Customer Services and Performance Manager for the East Coast route, said: “World Mental Health Day is a fantastic opportunity to bring the conversation around mental health and wellbeing to the forefront. Thousands of passengers travel along the route every day, helping us to reach out to a wide range of people, whether that be someone on their way to the office, a student heading to their morning lecture, or people popping to the shops. We have a long-standing partnership with Samaritans and by working closely with them to spark conversations across the East Coast Main Line, we hope to raise awareness and remind people that the help and support is there, should they need it.”
David Horne, Managing Director at LNER, said: “At LNER we know just how important the work of Samaritans is, encouraging people to talk about their concerns and raising awareness about the support available. Starting a conversation with someone may really make a huge difference to them and we’re proud to support this important campaign.”
Laura Campbell, GTR’s Suicide Prevention Manager, said: “Mental Health is a year-round priority for GTR and we are thrilled to support the Samaritans in this initiative to remind people there is always somewhere to turn.”
Anyone can contact Samaritans, free, 24/7, 365 days a year and if you’re going through a tough time, you don’t have to face it alone. You can call 116 123, email email@example.com, or visit www.samaritans.org.