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Affirmation Art appears at Blackfriars station on World Suicide Prevention Day. More images available below.
Affirmation Art appears at Blackfriars station on World Suicide Prevention Day. More images available below.

Press release -

Nation wakes up to messages of hope on World Suicide Prevention Day

  • A series of motivational messages have appeared across the network as part of GTR’s ‘Affirmation Art’ activation
  • “It’s ok not to be ok,” “We’re with You” and other messages show continued support and understanding for those in need

10 September 2020, LONDON: Today, on annual World Suicide Prevention Day, Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), the UK’s biggest rail franchise which operates the Southern, Thameslink, Great Northern and Gatwick Express services, has unveiled 'Affirmation Art’ clusters across some of its busiest stations to raise awareness of the company’s ongoing support and understanding to those who may be feeling vulnerable.

Working closely with partners such as Samaritans, Network Rail and the British Transport Police, GTR continually works to support people across its network. Highlighting its commitment in this area, the company has appointed its first Suicide Prevention Manager, Laura Campbell, making GTR the only Train Operating Company (TOC) to have someone in such a role. In the last year there have been 426 GTR interventions and 35 fatalities, with a 57% increase in lifesaving interventions since 2019 across GTR’s rail network.

Given the importance of this issue nationwide, GTR encourages others to develop a greater depth of understanding regarding the complexities and issues associated with suicide as a year-round priority. Alongside a comprehensive, and always-on Suicide Prevention programme, GTR has chosen to mark World Suicide Prevention Day with a consumer-facing campaign which will begin in the early hours of 10 September as a team of artists begin spraying motivational messages in chalk across station entrances and exits.

The chalk clusters aim to offer support and spark discussion around this incredibly important subject, helping to give passengers and staff a positive boost.

The messages being featured include:

  • We’re with You

  • Don’t suffer in silence

  • It’s ok not to be ok

Because looking after passengers is of utmost importance, GTR is working tirelessly to make sure that its staff are equally supported through training to deal with such situations and are fully equipped to intervene when needed. GTR works side by side with charities such as the Samaritans to offer support and guidance when dealing with difficult scenarios. Additionally, TRiM (Trauma Risk Management) training, as well as occupational health and further support is provided to all employees so that they are able to look after passengers, themselves and each other. As part of its long-term strategy, GTR aims to reduce the number of incidents by 50% leading up to 2021.

Speaking of the campaign, Suicide Prevention Manager, Laura Campbell said, “Whilst growing up I experienced first-hand the trauma that suicide can leave behind and it’s why I took on the role of Suicide Prevention Manager at GTR. It is important to raise awareness of the support that is available to those that may need it and educate the wider community about the complexities inherent in mental health as well as suicide. The Affirmations Art campaign looks to do just that, in a subtle and visual way.”

Laura continues, “My grandmother sadly took her own life on the railway when my mum was just four years old. Back then, there wasn’t the support around that there is now and I don’t think she’s ever processed it properly. It’s one of the key reasons why I took on this role – my main focus is on supporting as many people as possible with all the work we’re doing to prevent suicide. I think it’s incredibly important that we’re raising awareness and showing signs of positivity on what will be quite a stark day for many.”

The Affirmation Art will be displayed at four of GTR’s stations in a variety of colours, including Blackfriars and St Albans on the Thameslink route and East Croydon and Brighton on the Southern part of the network. The messages will be mirrored across the entire network’s customer information systems on board trains and at stations. The physical stencils and imagery from the day will remain hung in stations and GTR sites UK-wide, serving as a continued show of the operator’s focus on suicide prevention 365 days a year.

Tom Moran, Managing Director for Great Northern and Thameslink at GTR said: “As part of this campaign, we wanted to send a reminder of hope and support to anyone that may need it. It really is ok to not be ok and we want to encourage people to talk and support each other. We understand the pressures passengers and people in the communities we serve may be facing and we hope this shows our support and togetherness.”

-ENDS-

Case Studies

GTR colleagues are sharing their experiences on World Suicide Prevention Day to demonstrate their support and tell their poignant stories in a bid to raise awareness of this deeply complex matter.

Railway couple Agy & Paul O'Brien worked together to save a man's life. Read Agy and Paul's story here.

GTR is the only train operating company to have a dedicated Suicide Prevention Manager. Read Laura's story here.

Kelly Holyoake is a train dispatcher, but her role sees her dealing with vulnerable people everyday. Read her story here.

As a Rail Enforcement Officer, James Edwards works on the frontline at some of GTR's busiest stations. Read his story here.

Steve Fleming has worked on the railway for over 20 years and has a lot of experience in suicide prevention. Read his story here.

For any further information, please contact Spider PR on:

GTR@wearespider.com

0207 403 6900

GTR’s Internal Training & Support

As well as a dedicated caring for the vulnerable training that train our teams to look out for vulnerable passengers across the network, we offer e-learning modules which advise on making a safe intervention and suicide prevention training. Our employees also have access to support from Samaritans and the rail pastor and chaplain network.

Additionally, we offer our teams TRiM (Trauma Risk Management) training, as well as occupational health and further support so that they are able to look after our passengers, themselves and each other. Following an unfortunate fatality we reach out to our front line teams to ensure they have access to any support they may need.

Samaritans

Samaritans’ volunteers are available around the clock, seven days a week providing emotional support and a listening ear to anyone who needs help.

Anyone can call Samaritans for free on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org for emotional support from a trained volunteer. Or visit samaritans.org for online self-help tools and resources.

About Govia Thameslink Railway

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) operates Thameslink, Great Northern, Southern and Gatwick Express services as follows:

  • Thameslink – cross-London services between Bedford/Peterborough/Cambridge and Brighton/Horsham/Littlehampton/East Grinstead, and between Luton/St Albans and Sutton/Wimbledon/Rainham; plus services between London and Sevenoaks

  • Great Northern – services between London and Welwyn, Hertford, Peterborough, Cambridge and King’s Lynn
  • Southern – services between London and the Sussex coast (Brighton, Worthing, Eastbourne, Bognor Regis, Hastings) and parts of Surrey, Kent and Hampshire (Ashford International, Southampton, Portsmouth)
  • Gatwick Express – fast, non-stop direct services between Gatwick Airport and London Victoria. The Gatwick Express remains temporarily suspended.
  • The Key smartcard offers an easier and faster way to buy, renew and use train tickets, compared to paper tickets. Customers can register on our websites:

www.southernrailway.com, www.thameslinkrailway.com, www.gatwickexpress.com, www.greatnorthernrail.com

Photographer credits

  • Blackfriars – Scott Garfitt/PinPep
  • St Albans, East Croydon and Brighton – Peter Alvey 

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Govia Thameslink Railway

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) operates Thameslink, Great Northern, Southern and Gatwick Express services as follows:

  • Thameslink – cross-London services between Bedford/Peterborough/Cambridge and Brighton/Horsham/Littlehampton/East Grinstead, and between Luton/St Albans and Sutton/Wimbledon/Rainham; plus services between London and Sevenoaks
  • Great Northern – services between London and Welwyn, Hertford, Peterborough, Cambridge and King’s Lynn
  • Southern – services between London and the Sussex coast (Brighton, Worthing, Eastbourne, Bognor Regis, Hastings) and parts of Surrey, Kent and Hampshire (Ashford International, Southampton, Portsmouth)
  • Gatwick Express – fast, non-stop direct services between Gatwick Airport and London Victoria

www.southernrailway.comwww.thameslinkrailway.comwww.gatwickexpress.comwww.greatnorthernrail.com

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