14.2 Information encouraging help seeking for people with suicide intent

This measure refers to posting information which is designed to help directly the people with suicide intent by encouraging them to seek help. The measure targets subjects in a desperate mood state that reach out for psychological help or support.
  • The easiest way is to use posters to indicate that help is available for suicidal individuals by suicide prevention organisations and telephones are available nearby.
  • Use free help lines (emergency phone number to help line) so that people would only need to be familiar with the helpline number and have a phone to hand.
  • Following the Samaritans model, you can use metal signs placed at the ends of platforms which contain the phone number to ring. This is an attempt to reinforce the message to suicidal people at prominent high risk locations on stations.
  • After installing an emergency button or telephone, conduct periodic maintenance in order to check if the equipment is still functioning properly.
  • To avoid counterproductive promotion of suicidal ideation and fantasies dealing with the railway as a concrete suicide mean, under no circumstances should the campaign address concrete suicide means and it should also avoid mentioning any understanding of the motives of suicidal plans.
  • This measure implies collaboration with a third party organisation specialised in psychological support and counselling.
  • In Belgium posters for telephone help lines were placed between March 2011 and March 2012 at 200 locations (usually large stations). The cost of the intervention was € 5,000. Contact person: Kevin Debbaut.
  • In Canada (Québec), the helpline number of the suicide prevention centre was printed on the side of the rail tracks in certain areas near level crossings. It was assumed that this positioning would make the text more visible compared to traditional posters and signs (source).
  • The posting of signs with the Samaritans’ national telephone number at a suicide hot spot car park in New Forest in England, resulted in a significant reduction in the number of suicides (Krysinska & De Leo, 2008).
  • A positive impact demonstrated from the use of signs and posters providing details of the Samaritans (Brown, Evans, & Webb, 2012).
  • The Australian Lifeline ’Pause.Call.Be Heard’ Campaign was associated with a 12.1% decrease in the overall number of suicide incidents (from 58 in the 12 months before the campaing to 51 during the 12 months of campaign), although the Lifeline did not operate in isolation and rail suicidal behaviour was influenced by a wide variety of factors that were not controlled for in the evaluation study (Reifels et al., 2018).
  • Example of man using the suicide helpline at Golden Gate Bridge: http://imgur.com/gallery/SMxQ7UF

last update: 2022-08-29 Print