Railways, Sneha to curb suicides on tracks


Suicide Helpline, Sneha, is tying up with the Southern Railways Madras Zone to help prevent suicides by jumping in front of trains.

According to a senior railway official, in the Chennai division, there have been several cases of suicide and attempts to suicide by jumping in front of EMU trains. Reportedly, about 15 per cent of the deaths along the railway tracks are due to suicides and therefore around 110 areas in Tiruvallur, Gummidipoondi, Velachery, Tambaram and Katpadi have been identified by the Southern Railways along with the Railway Protection Force, he added. The initiative, which will begin on September 10, was launched here on Monday.

Lakshmi Vijayakumar, founder of Sneha, said such suicides account for 1.5 per cent of the country’s suicides. “Most of the time, trains are unable to brake in time, so most cases end up fatal. Suicide attempts of people jumping in front of trains are traumatic for the loco pilots, railway personnel and the police on the train,” she said.

For general suicides, the male to female ratio is around 2:1, but in suicides where people jump in front of trains, men far outnumber women, with the ratio being around 5:1. “In Tamil Nadu, the situation is slightly better than Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, who together contribute to 35 per cent of the railway suicides. However, much needs to be done,” she said.

The new initiative will include a 30 second video clip raising awareness on Sneha that will be shown every 30 minutes in Central and Egmore stations. “In the stations, trains and the 110 areas identified with high incidents of suicides, posters raising awareness on suicides and information on Sneha with their number and address will be displayed,” she said.

Over the course of the year, Sneha will also be training railway police to identify people in distress, how to approach and refer them to help.

According to S. Anantharaman, Chief Operations Manager, Southern Railway, when a person is hit by the train, it is impossible to seek medical care in time. “When the train is moving, it looks slow, but in reality they are running at around 100 km per hour. The psychological impact on the loco pilot and other staff on the train of these suicides are phenomenal, and many of them need counselling because they feel responsible for these deaths,” he said.

Sneha will also be running a campaign in movie theatres across the state.

Reportedly, about 15 per cent of the deaths along the railway tracks are due to suicides

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 11:14:56 PM |

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