It’s ok not to be ok: East Croydon station gets the message

The busiest railway stations on the GTR network have all had the artworks spray-painted on to the entrances and exits ahead of Suicide Prevention Day

Commuters using East Croydon station this morning will have seen their route to the platforms made more colourful by a series of artful messages, installed by Govia Thameslink Railway across some of its busiest transport hubs today – Suicide Prevention Day – to raise awareness of the company’s ongoing support and understanding to those who may be feeling vulnerable.

Working closely with Samaritans, Network Rail and the British Transport Police, GTR has appointed its first suicide prevention manager, Laura Campbell, making GTR the only train operator to have someone working in such a role.

In the last year there have been 426 GTR interventions and 35 fatalities on the GTR network. GTR say that there has been a 57 per cent increase in lifesaving interventions since 2019 across its network, which is the country’s biggest rail franchise and operates the Southern, Thameslink, Great Northern and Gatwick Express services.

GTR has chosen to mark World Suicide Prevention Day with a team of artists spraying motivational messages in chalk across station entrances and exits. The chalk clusters aim to offer support and spark discussion around this incredibly important subject, helping to give passengers and staff a positive boost.

The messages being featured include:

  • We’re with You
  • Don’t suffer in silence
  • It’s ok not to be ok

GTR staff are also supported through training to help them be fully equipped to intervene when needed. GTR works with charities such as the Samaritans to offer support and guidance when dealing with difficult scenarios.

Stencil artists worked overnight at Brighton, St Albans, Blackfriars and East Croydon stations

Campbell, the company’s suicide prevention manager, said, “While growing up I experienced first-hand the trauma that suicide can leave behind. It is important to raise awareness of the support that is available to those that may need it and educate the wider community about the complexities inherent in mental health, as well as suicide. The Affirmations Art campaign looks to do just that, in a subtle and visual way.”

The Affirmation Art will be displayed at four of GTR’s stations in a variety of colours, including Blackfriars and St Albans on the Thameslink route and East Croydon and Brighton on the Southern part of the network. The messages will be mirrored across the entire network’s customer information systems on board trains and at stations.

Tom Moran, the managing director for Great Northern and Thameslink, said: “As part of this campaign, we wanted to send a reminder of hope and support to anyone that may need it. It really is ok to not be ok, and we want to encourage people to talk and support each other.

“We understand the pressures passengers and people in the communities we serve may be facing and we hope this shows our support and togetherness.”

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1 Response to It’s ok not to be ok: East Croydon station gets the message

  1. Lewis White says:

    I have been noticing, with great appreciation, the signage and other measures taken over the past 5 years or so on many Southern Railway Stations in the Croydon area, to address the health issue of suicide prevention and awareness. This demonstrates care in action, by the railway industry.

    I am sure that these will have saved many lives, and have prevented and reduced the shock, stress, and lasting sadness for families, train drivers and railway staff, that results from someone taking or attempting to take their own life.

    Seeing just one well-worded, illustrated sign on a station platform, might just be enough to make a poetntial suicide victim think again, and turn them away from taking action. It also might help them to phone the contact numbers, and get help.

    Congratulations therefore to GTR, and partners Samaritans, Network Rail and the British Transport for all these initiatives, including the Affirmations Art project, over a sustained period of time.

    When people are suffering the depth of depression and resulting skewed and negative thinking that can results in suicidal actions, they need help. Helping people know that they are not alone, and that someone cares for them, is a vital part of setting them on the road to recovery.

    Public Art — with high profile visual interventions in stations — helps shine a light, and raise the culture of public awareness and support. It all adds up.

    Is it that 1 in 4 of us will, at some time, suffer mental illness?. And how many will take their own life, or attempt to do so?

    So, thank you to all involved for this excellent , long term initiative, and to the Affirmations Art campaign. It gives you good feelings about the UK as a caring society too, which is very positive.

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