Middlesex University

Research to prevent suicide on railways and other public locations

There is around one suicide on the UK’s railways every 30 hours. The emotional costs to the individual’s family, friends, fellow commuters and transport staff are immeasurable. Middlesex University is passionate about undertaking research to prevent suicide attempts on railways and other public locations.

Associate Professor of Psychology Lisa Marzano is now leading a study to develop a better understanding of how to support people in crisis and prevent suicide attempts. A key element is an online survey investigating how bystanders react when they come into contact who are in distress and/or suicidal. 

The research team is particularly keen to hear from people who have experienced emotional distress and those who have stepped in to help or wanted to but did not know what to do.

The research was commissioned by the Samaritans on behalf of the rail industry as part of their suicide reduction and prevention work.

Marzano’s previous research investigated what influences and deters people from taking their lives on railways. It spearheaded the rail industry’s ‘Small Talk Saves Lives’ campaign urging commuters to start a conversation with a person in distress in order to interrupt their suicidal thoughts.

The study is open to 16+ age groups and all responses are completely anonymous and confidential