Friday 8 December 2023

Conference on suicide prevention in rail bound traffic held in Stockholm

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On 4 December 2023, the National Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention (NASP) at the Karolinska Institutet and Region Stockholm, in partnership with the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket), hosted a conference on suicide prevention in rail bound traffic which was attended by over 150 participants. The morning session focused on the topic in Sweden with the afternoon session introducing an international perspective.

The day was moderated by Clinical Psychologist Johan Fredin-Knutzén, a specialist on suicide in the transport system at NASP at the Karolinska Institutet and Region Stockholm, and Danielle Stone, Research assistant.

The international session began with Deputy Director System Safety & Health at RSSB and Chair of the UIC TreSP-Network Dr Ann Mills and UIC Senior Advisor Isabelle Fonverne highlighting the activities carried out by the UIC TreSP-Network to tackle rail trespassing and suicides. They gave information on the Restrail project and its toolbox, and a report on the 2nd UIC public rail safety campaign TRESPAD (Trespass Awareness Day) that took place in June 2023, as well as announcing that the 3rd edition would be taking place on 5 June 2024.

Since 2022, TRESPAD has been followed by the more established awareness campaign ILCAD on risks at level crossings, which will celebrate its 16th edition on 6 June 2024.

This introduction was followed by a series of technical presentations:

  • Lola Barre, Suicide Prevention Consultant in Public Places, and Charles-Edouard Notredame, Psychiatrist and Scientific-referent, both at the Papageno Programme gave a presentation on suicidal contagion, the Werther and Papageno effects, and their relationship with rail suicide.
  • Marjolein Snel and Bart Hoogcarspel from ProRail discussed the Dutch railway’s suicide prevention approach and its research conducted on the effectiveness of the measures.
  • Becky Bray, Suicide Prevention Manager at Network Rail (Anglia route), gave a presentation on the railway suicide prevention approach in England. Then Arifa Wadiwala, Psychiatric Nurse for the NHS England, shared her experiences of working on the London railway network.
  • Finally, Nicola Brady, Senior Operational Policy, Insight and Analysis Manager at Transport for London (TFL), shared the initiatives implemented to prevent suicides in the London Underground.

Johan Fredin-Knutzén concluded the session by thanking the attendees for engaging with the critical topic, adding that the conference would not have been possible without excellent teamwork and knowledge sharing between the countries and members of the TreSP-Network.

The day concluded with an animated panel discussion and was followed by the TreSP-Network meeting, which was held the next day on 5 December.

For further information please contact Isabelle Fonverne, Senior Safety Advisor:

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