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ScotRail employee praised for actions that saved a life

Christopher Harvie intervened to help a distressed customer in Edinburgh's Haymarket station.

Lifesaver: Christopher Harvie intervened to help a distressed customer.
Lifesaver: Christopher Harvie intervened to help a distressed customer. ScotRail

A ScotRail employee has been praised for his quick-thinking actions that helped to save a vulnerable person from coming to harm.

Christopher Harvie intervened to help a distressed customer in Edinburgh's Haymarket station on Thursday, August 8.

The customer service team leader comforted the customer and then ushered them to a place of safety until the emergency services arrived.

Mr Harvie, from Edinburgh, is one of over 50 ScotRail employees who recently received mental health first aid training, allowing him to provide guidance and signpost support services to anyone experiencing problems.

The mental health first aiders received extensive training through NHS-accredited material and are able to identify someone who is developing a mental health issue and guide them to the relevant support service.

Mr Harvie said: "As one of the thousands of people working on the frontline of Scotland's Railway, I know how important a role I have in helping vulnerable people.

"The mental health first aid training I received was really helpful in giving me valuable skills to notice the signs of a person in need.

"I am really happy that I was able to use those skills and play a part in helping to potentially save someone's life."

Marking World Suicide Prevention Day on Tuesday, ScotRail is taking part in Conversation Cafes throughout the week to offer support to customers.

The Conversation Cafes see representatives from the Railway Mission, Samaritans, NHS 24's Breathing Space, ScotRail and British Transport Police amongst other organisations, engaging and meeting with customers on trains and in stations to talk about mental health issues.

This year's Conversation Cafes will be taking place until Friday on routes across Scotland, including Dundee, Aberdeen, Dumfries, Wemyss Bay, Perth and Pitlochry.

Phil Campbell, ScotRail's head of customer operations, said: "It's fantastic to see that our mental health training has had a positive effect and I'm proud to have Christopher represent ScotRail, but it doesn't take training to make a difference.

"I'd encourage anyone who sees someone who they think may be at risk to offer a simple smile and a hello.

"It can change someone's mindset and make a huge difference to not just their lives, but the lives of their friends and family."

How to help someone in distress

People are being reminded that if they concerned about someone they see on the railway or elsewhere, they should trust their instincts.

  • Suicidal thoughts can often be temporary.
  • Strike up a conversation with a simple question - such as asking about the weather, or where they're travelling to.
  • If you think someone may need help, introduce yourself, encourage them to talk and focus on listening.
  • There's no evidence that talking to someone who could be at risk can make things worse.
  • It's important to act. If you don't feel comfortable approaching the person yourself, speak to someone else or dial 999.

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