Associate Professor Lisa Marzano’s research to develop a better understanding of how to support people in crisis and prevent suicide attempts has been named on the ‘Nation’s Lifesavers List’ because of its exceptional contribution to the nation’s wellbeing.
Associate Professor Marzano’s work is named for the first time today as part of Universities UK’s MadeAtUni campaign, which brings to life the impact of universities on everyday lives.
Marzano is appealing to the public to take part in an online survey to help her research team investigate how bystanders react when they come into contact with people on the railways and other public locations who are in distress and/or suicidal.
The research team is particularly keen to hear from people who have experienced emotional distress and those who have stepped in to help or wanted to but did not know what to do.
The research was commissioned by the Samaritans on behalf of the rail industry as part of their suicide reduction and prevention work. There is around one suicide on Britain’s railways every 30 hours. The emotional costs to the individual’s family, friends, fellow commuters and transport staff are immeasurable.
Marzano’s previous research investigated what influences and deters people from taking their lives on railways. It spearheaded the Samaritans’ and rail industry’s ‘Small Talk Saves Lives’ campaign urging commuters to start a conversation with a person in distress in order to interrupt their suicidal thoughts.
Commenting on the survey, Associate Professor Marzano said:
“Our previous research suggested that a simple conversation can help save someone’s life. Indeed, for every life lost on Britain’s railways, at least six appear to be saved by those around them. We’re now going a step further and want to find out why some people intervene, what prevents others from doing so, and, above all, what makes for a safe, effective, ‘life-saving’ intervention. When we analyse our survey results we’ll aim to produce a guide to help commuters and the general public know what to do in a crisis situation. In order to do this we need as many people as possible to get involved. It’s really important that we get responses from all 16+ age groups and from across the UK to ensure our research reflects a wide range of experiences. Suicide is preventable, and we can all play a role in that.” Associate Professor Marzano
The study is open to 16+ age groups and all responses are completely anonymous and confidential.