‘Talking can be a lifesaver’ - South Western Railway supports Samaritans’ Real People, Real Stories campaign

Tuesday 19th March 2019
South Western Railway supporting the Samaritans' Real People, Real Stories campaign
  • SWR joins senior rail figures to support Samaritans’ campaign to reduce male suicide
  • Real People, Real Stories campaign was launched at Waterloo station today (19 March 2019)
  • 4.5% of all suicides occur on the UK’s railway
  • 1,500 across the rail network posters sharing personal stories of men that have overcome tough times

South Western Railway (SWR) is proud to support the Samaritans’ latest campaign to reduce suicides (on 19 March 2019).

The Real People, Real Stories campaign targets those most at risk from suicide: men aged 20-59 years old, encouraging them to seek help before they reach crisis point. According to the rail industry’s latest statistics, approximately 4.5% (249) of all suicides occur on the UK’s railways, 80% of which are men. In the UK, suicide is the biggest killer of men under the age of fifty. Yet, a new survey commissioned by Samaritans released today (19 March) shows there’s still a stigma around men seeking help when they are struggling to cope.

The campaign sees men who have overcome tough times share their stories to encourage others to seek help by contacting Samaritans 24/7 free on 116 123 or Samaritans.org.

Left to Right: Ian Stevens (Network Rail, Programme Manager), Andy Thomas (Network Rail Wessex Route Managing Director), Leon Mackenzie (former professional footballer), Paul Macdonald (Head of External Affairs, Samaritans)

SWR staff at Waterloo station helping to launch the Samaritans Real People, Real Stories campaign


SWR staff with a British Transport Police (BTP) Officer and a Rail Community Officer (RCO)

Alex Carson, SWR's Head of Security, said:
“SWR fully supports the Samaritans’ new Real People, Real Stories campaign. “Breaking the stigma around men’s mental health through discussion and engagement, is an approach that we actively encourage. “Sharing how you feel with a relative, a friend, or professional is a necessary first step. Help and words of advice and support are just a phone call away.”

Jenny Saunders, SWR's Head of Stations and Revenue Protection, said:
“The high suicide rate among young and middle-aged men is a tragedy. Displaying these real, powerful experiences offers hope and comfort to men, and others going through hard times. Talking can be a lifesaver.

“There shouldn’t be stigma around discussing your feelings. Not matter how big or small, having someone there to listen and help talk through a problem can be life-changing and life-saving.”

Paul McDonald, Samaritans' Executive Director of External Affairs, said:
“We didn’t want to create just another awareness campaign. We wanted something authentic and emotive from men who have been through tough times, sharing their really powerful, positive and hopeful stories to encourage other men to seek help before they reach crisis point.”

Anyone can contact Samaritans for FREE any time from any phone on 116 123, even a mobile without credit. This number won’t show up on your phone bill. Or you can email jo@samaritans.org or visit samaritans.org to find details of your nearest branch, where you can talk to one of our trained volunteers face to face.

Follow @samaritans on Twitter, @samaritanscharity on Instagram and #RealPeopleRealStories or visit samaritans.org/realpeoplerealstories to learn more about the Samaritans’ Real People, Real Stories campaign. Call Samaritans for free 24/7 on 116 123.