top of page
  • Writer's pictureNikki Latham

GWR and Samaritans encourage people to become lifesavers with the power of small talk

Introducing Samaritans' Small Talk Saves Lives campaign! Did you know that 50% of UK adults lack the confidence to approach and speak to someone in need?

But here's the game-changer: YOU have the power to make a difference! Trust your instincts and start a conversation that could save a life. Their films will blow your mind!

It proves that a simple question like 'where can I get a coffee?' could be the lifeline someone desperately needs. By interrupting their suicidal thoughts, you can guide them towards a path of recovery.

Join the movement and become a hero of small talk! Together, we can create a society where no one suffers in silence. Let's break the barriers and show compassion to those who need it most. Samaritans' Small Talk Saves Lives campaign - because a little chat can change everything!

GWR Train Managers, Carol and Kim Hellyer, are supporting the campaign by sharing their life-saving intervention experiences. Samaritans, Network Rail, British Transport Police, and the rail industry are collaborating to promote Small Talk Saves Lives. Volunteers will distribute myth-busting leaflets at GWR stations to emphasize the importance of talking.

Julie Bentley, Samaritans CEO, said:
“It’s normal to feel anxious about starting a conversation with someone you don’t know in person, but at Samaritans we know first-hand how life-changing that conversation could be.
“Suicidal thoughts are often temporary and there’s no evidence to suggest that you will make the situation worse – it’s about trusting your instincts, starting a conversation, and showing you care.
“We know it’s been a really challenging time for people’s mental health over the last few years, so we hope the Small Talk Saves Lives campaign builds that confidence and reminds the public of the difference they can make. Let’s continue to look out for one another – it could save a life.”
Ruth Busby, People and Transformation Director (Regional) for Great Western Railway and Network Rail Wales and Western, said:
“We’re really proud to be working in partnership with Samaritans again to help raise awareness of the power of small talk. We’ve worked with Samaritans since 2010 to encourage life-saving conversations with both our staff and the public. It’s so important we continue to look out for one another, as we all have the simple skills which could save a life.”

The mother and daughter GWR team explain their experiences.

Kim Hellyer, 25: “As a train manager, my main role is the safety of the train. I’m always moving through the train checking if everyone is OK.
“I was at work, and I saw a young woman who looked really upset. I asked her if she had a ticket, but she ignored me. So I asked her where she was travelling to. She told me she was going away because she wanted to end her life. I knew I had to keep talking to her and keep her with me, so she was safe. I asked her name and we talked about her job. She told me it wasn’t the first time that week that she’d tried to do this.
“When we reached the next station, I needed to open and close the doors to let customers on and off the train. At that point I called control. They arranged for the British Transport Police to come. I continued to chat to her and didn’t leave her side.
“I feel so strongly about encouraging other train crews to learn and do Samaritans’ ‘Managing Suicidal Contacts’ training. I want to raise awareness for others who need support too.
“GWR gave me a Gold Award in September last year for this, which I was really proud of.”
Carol Hellyer, 51: “I’ve worked on the railway for 23 years. I’ve been with GWR as a Train Manager for my entire career.
“We do an introduction to suicide prevention as part of our GWR safety training. So I know to look out for certain behaviours. The main message I remember is ‘if you’re not sure, go and ask anyway’, which is exactly what came to mind when it happened to me, and I saw someone I thought needed help.
“It was early in the morning, and I was driving to work. The strange thing is that I chose to go a different route to work. I caught something out the corner of my eye, who looked like a person who was going to take their life. “I said, ‘please talk to me for a bit’. I told them I was going to come closer so I didn’t have to talk so loudly but that I wouldn’t touch them. I just kept asking them if that was alright.
“Whilst we waited for the police to arrive, I kept talking and asked them if they’d come and sit with me. After about 45 minutes, they did. I just kept asking questions, trying to distract them.
“About six weeks later, I met with the person I had helped. There were so many reasons I shouldn’t have been there that day. I feel so proud and happy they’re okay.”

For more information and tips, visit or join the conversation on social media using #SmallTalkSavesLives.

This news story has been produced by Chesil Radio's News Team, for more information please visit:

1 view0 comments
bottom of page