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

Marzano, Lisa, Mackenzie, Jay-Marie, Kruger, A. Ian, Borrill, Jo and Fields, Bob (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 . pp. 1-6. ISSN 0007-1250 (Published online first) (doi:10.1192/bjp.2018.303)

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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: 353 survey responders had considered and 23 attempted suicide at rail locations (including railways and metro/underground), in a third of cases impulsively. 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.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology
Item ID: 25966
Notes on copyright: This article has been published in a revised form in British Journal of Psychiatry, https://doi.org/10.1192/bjp.2018.303. This version is free to view and download for private research and study only. Not for re-distribution, re-sale or use in derivative works. © The Royal College of Psychiatrists 2019
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Depositing User: Lisa Marzano
Date Deposited: 09 Jan 2019 14:11
Last Modified: 08 Aug 2019 22:06
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/25966

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