Behaviours preceding suicides at railway and underground locations: A multimethodological qualitative approach

Jay Marie Mackenzie, Jo Borrill, Emily Hawkins, Bob Fields, Ian Kruger, Ian Noonan, Lisa Marzano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Objectives Suicides by train have devastating consequences for families, the rail industry, staff dealing with the aftermath of such incidents and potential witnesses. To reduce suicides and suicide attempts by rail, it is important to learn how safe interventions can be made. However, very little is known about how to identify someone who may be about to make a suicide attempt at a railway location (including underground/subways). The current research employed a novel way of understanding what behaviours might immediately precede a suicide or suicide attempt at these locations. 

Design and methods A qualitative thematic approach was used for three parallel studies. Data were gathered from several sources, including interviews with individuals who survived a rail suicide attempt (n=9), CCTV footage of individuals who died by rail suicide (n=16) and qualitative survey data providing views from rail staff (n=79). 

Results Our research suggests that there are several behaviours that people may carry out before a suicide or suicide attempt at a rail location, including station hopping and platform switching, limiting contact with others, positioning themselves at the end of the track where the train/tube approaches, allowing trains to pass by and carrying out repetitive behaviours. 

Conclusions There are several behaviours that may be identifiable in the moments leading up to a suicide or suicide attempt on the railways which may present opportunities for intervention. These findings have implications for several stakeholders, including rail providers, transport police and other organisations focused on suicide prevention.

LanguageEnglish
Article numbere021076
Pages1-8
Number of pages8
JournalBMJ Open
Volume8
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes

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Suicide
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Interviews

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Mackenzie, J. M., Borrill, J., Hawkins, E., Fields, B., Kruger, I., Noonan, I., & Marzano, L. (2018). Behaviours preceding suicides at railway and underground locations: A multimethodological qualitative approach. BMJ Open, 8(4), 1-8. [e021076]. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2017-021076
Mackenzie, Jay Marie ; Borrill, Jo ; Hawkins, Emily ; Fields, Bob ; Kruger, Ian ; Noonan, Ian ; Marzano, Lisa. / Behaviours preceding suicides at railway and underground locations : A multimethodological qualitative approach. In: BMJ Open. 2018 ; Vol. 8, No. 4. pp. 1-8.
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Mackenzie, JM, Borrill, J, Hawkins, E, Fields, B, Kruger, I, Noonan, I & Marzano, L 2018, 'Behaviours preceding suicides at railway and underground locations: A multimethodological qualitative approach', BMJ Open, vol. 8, no. 4, e021076, pp. 1-8. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2017-021076

Behaviours preceding suicides at railway and underground locations : A multimethodological qualitative approach. / Mackenzie, Jay Marie; Borrill, Jo; Hawkins, Emily; Fields, Bob; Kruger, Ian; Noonan, Ian; Marzano, Lisa.

In: BMJ Open, Vol. 8, No. 4, e021076, 01.04.2018, p. 1-8.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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T1 - Behaviours preceding suicides at railway and underground locations

T2 - BMJ Open

AU - Mackenzie, Jay Marie

AU - Borrill, Jo

AU - Hawkins, Emily

AU - Fields, Bob

AU - Kruger, Ian

AU - Noonan, Ian

AU - Marzano, Lisa

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Y1 - 2018/4/1

N2 - Objectives Suicides by train have devastating consequences for families, the rail industry, staff dealing with the aftermath of such incidents and potential witnesses. To reduce suicides and suicide attempts by rail, it is important to learn how safe interventions can be made. However, very little is known about how to identify someone who may be about to make a suicide attempt at a railway location (including underground/subways). The current research employed a novel way of understanding what behaviours might immediately precede a suicide or suicide attempt at these locations. Design and methods A qualitative thematic approach was used for three parallel studies. Data were gathered from several sources, including interviews with individuals who survived a rail suicide attempt (n=9), CCTV footage of individuals who died by rail suicide (n=16) and qualitative survey data providing views from rail staff (n=79). Results Our research suggests that there are several behaviours that people may carry out before a suicide or suicide attempt at a rail location, including station hopping and platform switching, limiting contact with others, positioning themselves at the end of the track where the train/tube approaches, allowing trains to pass by and carrying out repetitive behaviours. Conclusions There are several behaviours that may be identifiable in the moments leading up to a suicide or suicide attempt on the railways which may present opportunities for intervention. These findings have implications for several stakeholders, including rail providers, transport police and other organisations focused on suicide prevention.

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