In 2016, the TrackSAFE Foundation and Lifeline Australia announced a joint partnership to pursue an objective of reducing rail suicides in Australia.
Lifeline Australia, as a national suicide prevention charity committed to providing specialist knowledge and supports on suicide prevention via the partnership with TrackSAFE.
A partnership of this scale across the rail industry on a national basis is the first of its kind, harnessing the commitment and capabilities of both organisations to gain a better understanding of community needs which leads to greater encouragement of help seeking behaviour.
The TrackSAFE/Lifeline partnership has seen the emergence of a national billboard campaign ‘Pause.Call.Be Heard.’ rolled out in rail stations across the nation. Through engaging, positive and interactive advertisements, Lifeline and TrackSAFE sends a message to the public reminding them to take a moment and know they are never alone – Lifeline’s crisis support services are available 24/7.
The national ‘Pause.Call.Be Heard.’ campaign is a new, innovative, yet simple approach to tackling the vexed issue of suicide for the nation. Throughout 2018, the University of Melbourne evaluated the effectiveness of the campaign using a combination of commuter surveys at 10 Victorian stations, Lifeline service data and rail incident data. The evaluation data shows that more than one quarter (26 percent) of randomly selected commuters at surveyed stations had noticed the campaign materials during their train travels over the past month and of these, 75 percent had directly engaged with the materials.
It is estimated that the campaign is reaching at least 27,000 daily commuters at these stations alone. Of those who had noticed the campaign, 78 percent indicated that the materials had increased their likelihood of seeking help from Lifeline for themselves and/or others. Specifically, 35 percent felt encouraged to seek help for someone else, 22 percent for themselves, and 21 percent for themselves and others.
National Roundtable Series
As part of the partnership, TrackSAFE and Lifeline have been hosting a series of successful rail suicide prevention roundtables in each state. The objectives of the roundtables are threefold: 1) to foster discussion among key stakeholders on how to achieve suicide safer railways 2) to consider how joint, collaborative action between stakeholders can occur, and 3) to examine current data and knowledge, and to identify data and knowledge gaps to be addressed.
Senior representatives from government, rail industry, the police, roads, public transport, mental health sector and the unions join together for these events to collaborate on rail suicide prevention on a state by state basis.