ScotRail employee praised for quick-thinking actions

Last updated: Tuesday, 10 September 2019

A ScotRail employee has been praised for his quick-thinking actions when identifying a vulnerable person.

Christopher Harvie intervened to help a distressed customer in Haymarket station on Thursday 8 August 2019.

The ScotRail Customer Service Team Leader’s actions to comfort the customer and usher them to a place of safety until the emergency services arrived prevented the person from coming to any harm.

Christopher, 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.

Today (Tuesday 10 September), World Suicide Prevention Day, and throughout this week, ScotRail is taking part in Conversation Cafés to offer support to customers.

The Conversation Cafés see representatives from the Railway Mission, Samaritans, NHS24 Breathing Space, ScotRail and British Transport Police amongst other organisations, engaging and meeting with customers on train and in stations, engaging passengers in conversations about mental health issues.

People are being reminded that if they're 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 today.
  • 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, tell a member of staff, a police officer or dial 999.

This year’s Conversation Cafés will be taking place on Tuesday 10 September (World Suicide Prevention Day) until Friday 13 September on the routes across Scotland, including Dundee, Aberdeen, Dumfries, Wemyss Bay, Perth and Pitlochry.

ScotRail Head of Customer Operations Phil Campbell 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.”

ScotRail Customer Service Team Leader Christopher 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.”