Working together to reduce suicide in transport – the 26th Westminster Lecture on Transport Safety and the 5th lecture in the UN Decade of Action, was delivered by Ruth Sutherland, Chief Executive of Samaritans, at the Palace of Westminster on 7th December.
The lecture was opened by Claire Perry MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport and attended by around 80 people, including some 15 MPs and peers. Ian Stevens, Network Rail, commented on behalf of the rail sector. Alistair Burt MP, Minister of State for Community and Care, had also intended to speak but was unable due to a change late change in Parliamentary business.
Working together to reduce suicide in transport
Some 6,000 people die by suicide in the UK each year. Ruth Sutherland, Chief Executive at Samaritans, discussed the scale of suicide in society and in particular how these tragedies also affect the transport industry in the UK. Suicides on the railway and in aviation are well documented. The situation regarding roads is less clear but likely to be substantial: some 650 suicides or attempted suicides were recorded on the strategic road network in England in one year alone.
Following a successful partnership with the rail sector over the past six years which has evolved into a wider cross-industry suicide prevention programme, she discussed the importance of intervention and the strategic objectives of working together to create safer rail, road and aviation networks. Suicide is a pressing public health matter which collectively we could influence to change. It is imperative that we share knowledge of interventions across the transport sector in an attempt to work together to prevent such tragedies and the impact they have on transport staff and the public.
The presentation and lecture notes are available below.
The lecture was sponsored by Direct Line Group