Great Western Railway (GWR) has joined Samaritans to remind people we all have the potential to be lifesavers by striking up a conversation.

Samaritans’ has launched its ‘Small Talk Saves Lives’ campaign, as research reveales just 50 per cent 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 campaign aims to empower the public to trust their instincts and start a conversation if they think someone needs help. As part of the launch, a new film 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 and help set them on a path to recovery.

GWR train managers, mother and daughter duo Carol and Kim Hellyer, are helping to front the campaign, sharing their experiences about how they intervened to save lives. 

Kim, 25, said: “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.”

Samaritans is working in partnership with Network Rail, British Transport Police and the wider rail industry to promote Small Talk Saves Lives, with volunteers heading to stations across the GWR network to highlighting the power of talking and providing myth-busting leaflets.

Julie Bentley, Samaritans chief executive, 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 of GWR said:“It’s so important we continue to look out for one another, as we all have the simple skills which could save a life.”

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