Insights on Suicide Prevention

Generated on 3rd December 2018

Every 36 hours someone in the UK ends their life on the railway. Despite successes stemming from the industry suicide prevention team based at Network Rail, there is a growing fear that current thinking and prevention methods can only go so far.

In 2018, Network Rail asked Dr. Robin Pharoah at Future Agenda to look at railway suicide and prevention using a novel, anthropological approach. The study centred on suicide ‘hotspot’ locations, and sought to identify connections between communities and the railway suicides that take place within them.

The result was a first-of-its-kind exploration of both the cultural contexts of rail suicide phenomena and the theoretical underpinnings of rail suicide research. The work led to a raft of new suicide-prevention strategies and actions on Britain’s railways, ranging from the creation of new, cross-industry, working groups, to new kinds of on-the-ground suicide prevention strategies involving those whose lives revolve around the railway, and which have already, directly, saved lives.

We are proud to say that our work was recognised at the 2018 MRS research awards and we came away from this year’s ceremony with the Virginia Valentine Award for Cultural Insights.