TRANSPORT for Wales have pledged their support for Labour Assembly Member Eluned Morgan’s #IPledge2Talk awareness campaign.
In a bid to encourage anyone suffering with mental health issues and to encourage emotional well-being, and prevent suicide, plaques emblazoning the #IPledge2Talk hashtag will soon be popping up at train stations across Wales.
The Labour AM for Mid & West Wales, along with representatives from Mind, the British Transport Police, Samaritans, Hafal, and other mental health groups, visited Carmarthen Train Station to unveil the first of many plaques, which will serve as visual reminders of the importance of talking and reaching out for support.
Other #IPledge2Talk campaign material will also be promoted on trains and platforms across Wales.
Transport For Wales didn’t think twice about supporting the campaign to encourage speaking out and ending the stigma of mental health issues.
Antony Thomas, Safety, Sustainability and Well-being Manager at Transport for Wales said:
“Since February 2019. TFW have been at the forefront in recognising the importance of talking about mental health. 1 in 4 of us suffer with mental health problems and everyone will experience some degree of mental ill-health in their lifetime. That is why we were proud to sign the Mind Cymru Time to Change pledge, which underlined our organisational commitment to supporting anyone who wants to talk; effectively destigmatising the condition to provide pathways to support.
“We are fully committed to keeping mental health at the heart of our culture, not just from a people perspective, but considering that mental ill-health costs the Welsh economy £1bn annually, it also makes sound business sense.
“We are proud to be here today, showing our support to this campaign in Carmarthen.”
Around 4.4 per cent of suicides in the UK take place on railways and the emotional, human costs are disproportionately high, as incidents often take place in view of passengers, station staff and drivers.
The Labour Mid & West AM was encouraged by the proactive role Transport for Wales has taken in suicide prevention, partnering up with the Samaritans, the British Transport Police, Mind and the wider rail industry, to reduce the numbers of tragedies on Welsh tracks.
Eluned hopes that the new plaques will raise awareness amongst commuters, encourage conversations and inspire a more proactive approach to identifying warning signs in others.
She said: “Railway suicides remain tragically common and cause a great deal of distress to passengers, train drivers and staff.
The rail industry has made significant strides with its partners in preventing deaths. I’m delighted that Transport for Wales have teamed up with the Samaritans to implement training programmes and to provide a strong package of support for those left haunted by these traumatic occurrences.
Every suicide is a tragedy and it is important to remember that there are many suicide attempts for each death. The impact on families, friends and communities is devastating and far-reaching, even long after a life has been lost.
I’m extremely proud to launch this initiative at Carmarthen Station and I am extremely grateful to Transport for Wales for their on-going support. An open approach to mental health is the best way to help prevent suicide and I hope that commuters will take note of these plaques and look out for each other.”
Watch the video here: Eluned Morgan at Carmarthen Station
British Transport Police Inspector, Mike Edwards said:
“Suicide is preventable, and lives are being saved every day. For every life lost on the railway, six are saved by those around them.
“Last year, BTP saw a 32% increase in the number of lifesaving interventions by police and members of rail staff. More than 1,700 of our staff have received specialist suicide prevention training from the Samaritans, which empowers people to trust their instinct and offers practical advice on how to approach a suicidal person and get help.
“Interventions aren’t just limited to the professionals – anyone can play a part in helping someone experiencing mental health problems. If you see someone who is struggling, speak to them, or text us and we’ll be there to help.”
Sara Moseley, Chief Exec of Mind Cymru, added:
“We lose 6,000 people a year to suicide in the UK and every one is a tragedy. That’s well over a hundred people a week
“We need to break down the stigma that surround mental health and suicide so that people feel more able to speak out about how they are feeling and seek support before they reach crisis point.
“We’re delighted to be working with Eluned Morgan AM to make Wales a country where people are not afraid to talk about their mental health. Everyone should feel comfortable asking for the help they need.”
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