Railroads Institute More Measures to Help Prevent Suicides on Their Systems

February 24, 2017

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News

Progressive Railroading

The railroad industry has recently launched a number of initiatives to help prevent suicide within its systems, which target both employees and passengers. Such measures include workplace programs to support rail staff who have been affected by suicide, and marketing campaigns that promote suicide prevention awareness and offer crisis support services to the general public. Union Pacific Railroad recently collaborated with the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention on an industry summit that focused on understanding and addressing rail-related suicide. Mark Jones, Union Pacific director of employee assistance and support services, said that opening up a dialogue within the industry is critical to effective prevention. “We need to bring this out of the dark. Railroads need to lead the conversation,” he said. Union Pacific trains employees in how to identify the warning signs for suicide and advocates a “see something/say something” approach to helping those in distress. Efforts are also underway to address suicide risk among rail passengers. For example, the U.S. Department of Transportation Volpe National Transportation Systems Center and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority have developed station signage that provides contact information for a local crisis hotline and encourages individuals who are struggling to reach out.

Spark Extra! Read more about the Rail Industry Summit on Suicide Prevention.