Factors deterring and prompting the decision to attempt suicide on the railway networks: findings from 353 online surveys and 34 semi-structured interviews

Marzano, L., Mackenzie, J.-M., Kruger, I., Borrill, J. and Fields, B. 2019. Factors deterring and prompting the decision to attempt suicide on the railway networks: findings from 353 online surveys and 34 semi-structured interviews. British Journal of Psychiatry. Advanced online publication. doi:10.1192/bjp.2018.303

TitleFactors deterring and prompting the decision to attempt suicide on the railway networks: findings from 353 online surveys and 34 semi-structured interviews
TypeJournal article
AuthorsMarzano, L., Mackenzie, J.-M., Kruger, I., Borrill, J. and Fields, B.
Abstract

Background
There is a suicide on the British railways every 36 hours. However, the reasons why people choose to die by train are not well understood.

Aims
To explore factors influencing and discouraging the decision to attempt suicide on the railway networks.

Method
We conducted an online survey and qualitative interviews with individuals who had contemplated or attempted suicide by train.

Results
A total of 353 survey responders had considered and 23 had attempted suicide at rail locations (including railways and metro/underground); a third of these cases were impulsive. The most frequently reported motivations for contemplating or attempting suicide were perceptions of quick and certain lethality (54 and 37%, respectively) and easy access to rail settings (33 and 38%, respectively). The main factor discouraging people from rail suicide was its wider impact, especially on train drivers (19%). In qualitative interviews (N = 34) the desire to avoid intervention from others was also a common motivating factor for attempting suicide on the railway networks.

Conclusions
People attempt suicide by train because railway settings are easy to access and because of an inaccurate perception of certain and quick lethality. Tackling exaggerated perceptions of lethality may help reduce suicides by train.

Keywordssuicide, railways, suicide prevention
JournalBritish Journal of Psychiatry
ISSN0007-1250
Year2019
PublisherCambridge University Press
Accepted author manuscriptRailway suicideR3.15Nov18.pdf
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1192/bjp.2018.303
Web address (URL)https://doi.org/10.1192/bjp.2018.303
Publication dates
Published07 Feb 2019

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