Suicide Prevention Support Material

The rail industry's suicide prevention programme provides a range of training and learning materials to support industry personnel to play an important role in preventing suicide on the network and to support those who may be affected by a suicide incident.

Suicide prevention handbook and TACTICS card

The Suicide Prevention and Support on the Railway handbook is a learning resource available to all rail personnel and provides basic information on intervening in a suicide attempt, it comes with a TACTICS card – a plastic card which will fit into a lanyard or wallet and acts as a reminder of how to identify and approach a vulnerable person and steps to take if a person may be about to take their own life on the rail network.  Both can be ordered free of charge from or PDF versions can be downloaded from this page:

TACTICS card front

TACTICS card back


Training industry people to identify and support vulnerable people

The industry is committed to reducing suicides on the railway and in the communities it is part of.  One of the most successful ways to achieve this is through staff intervening in suicide attempts.  Many thousands have received special training since 2010 to do just that.

Our bespoke training courses are award winning.  There is a full days training course led by Samaritans - Managing Suicidal Contacts and for those unable to attend that a 30 minute briefing video - the Learning Tool is available.  The Learning Tool has been designed so that everyone can play their part in the industry's suicide prevention programme, from preventing a suicide, to understanding the trauma such events can have on those directly involved in them. The tool has been developed at the request of the industry to make the details and materials of the programme more accessible to all of its people through video content that can form part of a briefing, training or personal awareness package.

Please contact to find out more.  To access the Learning Tool please register at

Working with the British Transport Police

The British Transport Police's dedicated Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Unit (SPMHU)  sees officers and civilians working alongside industry colleagues to reduce the risk of suicide on the network through intelligence gathering, data sharing and the 'tasking' of BTP officers.

The suicide prevention hotline number should be used where there is immediate concern that a person is intending to take their own life on the rail network – this number will be answered by emergency controllers who can arrange immediate police deployment. The poster is available to download from this page. 


Support following a suicide incident

Samaritans volunteers can attend a station following a suicide incident to provide emotional support to staff and passengers – this is known as Post Incident Support

The primary objective for volunteers attending a station following an incident is to provide a reassuring presence should anyone wish to talk to them, by listening to their concerns, worries or troubles and encouraging them to talk about how they feel. This could be passengers, staff, cleaners, BTP officers – anyone.   

Volunteers will have a highly visible presence on the station to encourage people to talk about how they are feeling.  They will also hand out materials with Samaritans contact details to members of the public to raise awareness of the service and in case they would like to contact Samaritans in their own time.  Rail staff can contact Samaritans directly to request support, but Samaritans will also offer it when they become aware of an incident.

Overcoming a traumatic incident

Fatalities, near misses, and violence on the network are traumatic. People may be affected in different ways and there is no 'right' way to respond to a traumatic event.   The Journey to Recovery booklet for train drivers and the Back on Track booklet for other rail staff can help individuals to understand what to expect if they are involved in a traumatic incident and understand their reactions.   

The rail industry also offers two Trauma Support Training courses for Drivers, front line, operational roles and others within the industry who may be affected by traumatic incidents. 

Trauma Support Training – Journey to Recovery in conjunction with ASLEF. This course is primarily for Drivers and those supporting Drivers following an incident.

NEW Trauma Support Training – Back on Track - for all other railway staff, primarily front line and operational roles.

Both courses meet NICE guideline standards on trauma and the course outlines can be downloaded below: 

The Back on Track and Journey to Recovery guidance booklets compliment the two TST training courses.

For course bookings and training related enquiries, please contact

Join or log in to keep reading
Need some help?
To talk to us about accessing RSSB content or corporate membership:
Cookies help us improve your website experience.
By using our website, you agree to our use of cookies.