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Samaritans' ‘Small Talk Saves Lives’ Campaign Launched

No. 043/2023


21 February 2023


Our Ref: P1/23


To: All Branches


Dear Colleagues,


Samaritans’ ‘Small Talk Saves Lives’ Campaign Launched 21 February 2023:


The Samaritans’ ‘Small Talk Saves Lives’ campaign launches on 21 February in partnership with the rail industry (which sadly sees hundreds of suicide deaths each year) and British Transport Police.


As we all know the Samaritans charity aims to provide emotional support to anyone in emotional distress, struggling to cope or is at risk of suicide throughout the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland and they do a great job.


The campaign launching today aims to empower the public to trust their instincts and start a conversation if they think someone needs help or looks to be in distress whether it is a complete stranger, an acquaintance, family, friend or work colleague – either at railway stations, in other public places or at work.


There are 6,000 suicides in the UK every year and the Samaritans charity say that a simple question or observation can be all it takes to interrupt someone’s suicidal thoughts and start them on the journey to recovery. The campaign aims to give people the confidence to start a conversation, which could save a life.


With latest research revealing that only 50% of UK adults said they would feel confident approaching and speaking to someone they don’t know if they were concerned about them in public, the Samaritans want to remind people that we all have the potential to be lifesavers by striking up a conversation and the campaign aims to empower people to trust their instincts and start a conversation if they think someone needs help.


As part of the launch, a new short video reassures the public that a little small talk like ‘where can I get a coffee?’ can be all it takes to interrupt someone’s suicidal thoughts, break the downward spiral and help set them on a path to recovery.


Samaritans – ‘Small Talk Saves Live’ Short 30 Secs Video:-



It’s normal to feel anxious about starting a conversation with someone you don’t know in person, but the Samaritans know first-hand how life-changing that conversation could be and are encouraging people to step up.


Suicidal thoughts are often temporary and there’s no evidence to suggest that starting a conversation will make the situation worse – it’s about trusting your instincts, starting a conversation, and showing you care.


It’s been a really challenging time for people’s mental health over the last few years, so Samaritans hope the ‘Small Talk Saves Lives’ campaign builds that confidence and reminds people of the difference they can make. Let’s continue to look out for one another – it could save a life.


If a work colleague or anyone else discloses they are experiencing suicidal thoughts, they should be signposting to expert sources of support such as occupational health, trained counsellors, clinicians – importantly encourage them to contact their GP as the first step for support.


Samaritans advise that, if you’re worried someone is suicidal, it’s okay to ask them directly. This involves asking someone about their suicidal thoughts in a calm, confident, sensitive but clear way. Fearing talking about suicide is always worse than actually talking about suicide advise the Samaritans. If a person is asked and they say they are not having thoughts, it’s worth following up with something like, ‘If anything changes, please do feel able to talk to me about it.’


If it’s felt that the individual is in immediate danger of taking their own life, you should dial 999 and call an ambulance, and not leave the person alone. They might feel disassociated from others, the world around them, and even their own emotions – like they are in a bubble – and they sometimes might not show it.


The CWU has worked in partnership with the Samaritans in the past and are pleased to be able to help by raising awareness of the campaign and the power of small talk, encouraging what can be life-saving conversations with both our members, colleagues, customers and the public they meet at work daily and in their private lives. The CWU in its membership has thousands of health and safety representatives, mental health first aiders, physical first aiders, health and wellbeing ambassadors, charity and voluntary organisation supporters and volunteers as well as well-meaning ordinary good people and the message is – 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 simple message is; trust your instincts and start a simple conversation if you think someone might need help.

Mental Health Crisis Helplines


For individuals in crisis and needing to talk right away, there are many helplines staffed by trained people ready to listen. They won’t judge people, and could help make sense of what the person’s feeling.

  • Samaritans. To talk about anything that is upsetting an individual – contact Samaritans 24 hours a day, 365 days a year by calling 116 123 (free from any phone). Alternatively email jo@samaritans.org or visit Samaritans branches in person. There is a Samaritans Welsh Language Helpline on 0808 164 0123 (7pm–11pm every day).

  • SANEline. For those experiencing a mental health problem or supporting someone else, call SANEline on 0300 304 7000 (4.30pm–10.30pm every day).

  • National Suicide Prevention Helpline UK. Offers a supportive listening service to anyone with thoughts of suicide. Call the National Suicide Prevention Helpline UK on 0800 689 5652 (6pm–3:30am every day).

  • Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM). Call CALM on 0800 58 58 58 (5pm–midnight every day) for anyone struggling and needing to talk. Or if preferred not to speak on the phone, try the CALM webchat service.

  • Shout. For those who would prefer not to talk but want some mental health support, they can text SHOUT to 85258. Shout offers a confidential 24/7 text service providing support for those in crisis and need immediate help.

  • The Mix. People under 25, can call ‘The Mix’ on 0808 808 4994 (3pm–midnight every day), or request support by email using the form on ‘The Mix website’ link: https://www.themix.org.uk/ or use their crisis text messenger service link: https://www.themix.org.uk/get-support/speak-to-our-team/crisis-messenger

  • Papyrus HOPELINEUK. For those under 35 and struggling with suicidal feelings, or concerned about a young person who might be struggling, call Papyrus HOPELINE on 0800 068 4141 (weekdays 10am-10pm, weekends 2pm-10pm and bank holidays 2pm–10pm), email: pat@papyrus-uk.org or text: 07786209697.

  • Nightline. Students can look on the Nightline Website link; https://nightline.ac.uk/ to see if their University or College offers a night-time listening service. Nightline phone operators are all students too.

  • Switchboard. For those who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, can call ‘Switchboard’ on 0300 330 0630 (10am–10pm every day), email; chris@switchboard.lgbt or use their webchat service. Phone operators all identify as LGBT+. Website: https://switchboard.lgbt/

  • A.L.L. For those living in Wales, call the Community Advice and Listening Line (C.A.L.L.) on 0800 132 737 (open 24/7) or you can text ‘help’ followed by a question to 81066.

  • MIND Infoline.Infoline: 0300 123 3393 or Email: info@mind.org.uk – can help find services that can support people with mental health problems.

Yours sincerely


Dave Joyce National Health, Safety & Environment Officer




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