Samaritans forges £5m link with Network Rail to prevent railway suicides

Emotional support charity wants to cut the 200 yearly deaths by 20 per cent

Samaritans has announced a five-year partnership with Network Rail for a £5m programme to cut the number of suicides on the UK's railways.

The charity will provide training for rail staff in preventing and dealing with suicide, raising awareness of support services and working with the media to encourage responsible reporting.

Network Rail will invest £5m in the project with the aim of reducing the number of suicides by 20 per cent. The figure has remained static at about 200 a year.

The programme will begin this month in areas particularly affected by railway suicide and will be extended across the UK by the end of the year.

Catherine Johnstone, chief executive of Samaritans, said: "This innovative new partnership comes at a vital time, because we are likely to see an increase in suicides over the coming years as a result of the recession.

"We hope this partnership will produce a model that can be replicated in other high-risk locations, helping Samaritans to achieve our vision that fewer people die by suicide."

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