Tools for World Mental Health Day 2019

With World Mental Health Day soon approaching on 10 October 2019, you should think about how to demonstrate your commitment to mental wellbeing in your workplace.

Foreword from Ian Prosser CBE, Chief Inspector of Railways, ORR

The theme for this year’s World Mental Health Day is Suicide Prevention. Suicide prevention and mental health need to be at the forefront of the industry agenda. In 2018/19, 271 people died as a result of suicide on the railway; and for every person that dies, at least 10 members of rail staff are directly affected.

Over the next five years, the rail industry is coming together through the Million Hour Challenge to volunteer one million hours to help the Samaritans achieve their vision of fewer people dying by suicide. The Million Hour Challenge supports the health and wellbeing of the public and passengers, and also contributes to improved health and wellbeing for the rail industry workforce. A great place to start on the volunteering journey is to complete the Samaritans’ ‘Wellbeing Toolkit’ and ‘Active Listening’ e-learning. They are powerful tools that help by giving participants the confidence to talk to other people more often.

When a suicide does occur, rail companies should ensure to have chain of care policies and trauma training in place to equip staff with the essential tools to cope with these traumatic events. RSSB have produced guidance on Responding to Potentially Traumatic Incidents to help companies ensure their trauma management pathways are evidenced based.

World Mental Health Day 2019, RSSB are providing a range of tools that can help individuals in the rail industry better demonstrate their commitment to mental wellbeing in the workplace.

Mental Health Training for Line Managers

Providing the right training for line managers is vital in helping them to better understand, manage and promote mental health and wellbeing at work, particularly in the challenging rail environment. This training equips managers with the confidence they need to manage absenteeism due to poor mental health, and the risks associated with work related stress. This benefits direct reports and has positive implications for companies through potential reductions in absence due to mental health, decrease in staff turnover and less ‘presenteeism’. RSSB has conducted a large research study comparing face-to-face and e-learning training.

Why not use World Mental Health Day to launch mental health training for your line managers?  Please get in touch for further information on training specifically for the rail working environment.

Exposure to Fatalities on the Railway

Rail staff need to be aware of any potential risks of exposure to a fatality or other serious incident on the railway. Preparing for a such an event as a job-related risk may lessen the impact by being aware that they may become involved in such an incident, what their responsibilities would be during an incident, how they can take care of themselves afterwards, and what support their company may offer. 
RSSB has compiled resources around post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), including a video and a fact sheet, to help rail staff understand the causes and symptoms of PTSD. We recommend for that rail staff share these with colleagues and if possible, on intranets or through internal communications.


The industry's Journey to Recovery and Back on Track booklets also provide important advice and support for staff who have been involved in a traumatic event. Order a copy from the Rail Delivery Group.

The Million Hour Challenge

The rail industry is coming together to volunteer one million hours over five years to help the Samaritans achieve their vision that fewer people die by suicide. The industry will provide more support for people experiencing emotional distress, and improve the mental health and wellbeing of rail industry employees. Watch the video below.

You can sign up for the Million Hour Challenge and find out how your company can get involved. The Samaritans' e-learning courses provide the skills we need to look after our own emotional health, and look out for others before they reach crisis point. The bitesize modules demystify managing mental wellbeing. The time spent on the e-learning also contributes to the Million Hour Challenge.

Chain of Care and Trauma Management

Employees who feel supported in the workplace following a traumatic event, particularly those who receive immediate practical support, experience reduced symptoms after three months and reduced absence over one year. RSSB has produced a guide which has been endorsed by ASLEF, TSSA and RMT amongst others, to help companies support staff after a workplace trauma.

World Mental Health Day can be a good time to review your Chain of Care and Trauma Management Procedures. A supporting toolbox with templates is available, and this outlines how to identify employees at risk immediately after an incident, and over the following period. Helping to assess employees from the point of the incident onwards, the guide provides information on referring employees to clinical support services and identifies further resources, training and support that is available. RSSB members can login to access the toolbox, background scientific evidence and recommendations.

This is Me, This is Rail

‘This is Me’ aims to reduce the stigma around mental health in the workplace, and to raise awareness of wellbeing. The Green Ribbon is a way of raising awareness of mental health during World Mental Health Day 2019, and showing employees your commitment to supporting mental health in the workplace. Order yours now.

‘This is Me’ have also put together a World Mental Health Day 2019 communication pack to help spread the word. It includes details about the initiative, social media posts, a piece for internal communications, links to images and assets, and contact details.

Rail Suicide Prevention website

The rail industry has launched a rail suicide prevention website. It features four distinct areas:

  • A public facing area
  • The Learning Tool
  • A Resource Library – for Suicide Prevention Champions and Suicide Prevention Plan Coordinators
  • An area for local authority coordinators.

If you have a pre-existing Learning Tool account, you will be able to login directly; otherwise please sign up for an account. Once you have completed the login, you will be able to enter additional areas of the website.

‘Suicide. Let’s Talk’ 

Suicide. Let’s Talk’ is a free e-learning resource developed by the Zero Suicide Alliance and Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust. The e-learning focuses on developing the awareness, skills, and confidence to help those in need. The aim is to make this vital training accessible to everyone who wants to learn more about how they can become best prepared to support someone in need. 

Haven’t found what you’re looking for?
Get in touch with our health and wellness expert for more information on all aspects of mental wellbeing.
Michelle O'Sullivan
Tel: 020 3142 5353
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