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Award for Patient-Centricity

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Finalist

Small Talk Saves Lives

by Network Rail, Samaritans, British Transport Police and Rail Delivery Group with support from Pegasus


Summary of work

In the UK, someone takes their own life on the railway every 36 hours. But suicidal thoughts are often temporary – and interrupting them with a simple question can be all it takes to start someone on the road to recovery. ‘Small Talk Saves Lives’ was borne from this insight, and set out to encourage members of the public to take action if they saw someone in distress. To keep authenticity at its heart, every aspect of the campaign was developed and shaped by experts; people with experience of suicidal thoughts; and those bereaved by suicide. At the heart of our campaign was a filmed public service announcement with a twist, telling the real-life story of a woman whose life had been saved by a passer-by who took time to stop and talk. We seeded this emotional video, alongside other examples of small talk used within lifesaving interventions, through social media, mainstream news, outdoor advertising and on train concourses. The results were overwhelming, with over 4 million views of the film to date, and 315 pieces of media coverage. Most importantly, we’ve already started to hear stories of those who have intervened on platforms…and potentially saved lives.

Judges' comments

The Small Talk Saves Lives is a bold campaign that breaks a taboo subject and actively save lives. Its effective use of social media and user-generated content was to great effect and brought stakeholders together in a common purpose.


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