FFE Magazine

Railroad track terrifyingly the leading place to commit suicide in Switzerland

Railroad track terrifyingly the leading place to commit suicide in Switzerland 10 mar 14

People commit suicides in varied imaginable ways and places, but all around the world the railroad track is the leading choice of place by people who want to end their life. Switzerland is not an exception. Between 1,300 and 1,400 suicides are recorded annually in the country. In fact Switzerland has one of the highest suicide rates in the world an average of 15 people jump in front of a train each month.


To bring down the numbers Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) the government-owned railway put up posters with numbers where people, especially youths, contemplating on ending their lives can get help and talk to someone. The campaign of the SBB offers a toll free crisis phone number 143. If the person chooses to get in touch by email they guarantee an answer in 48 hours.


Suicide is consistently one of the main reason of death among young people aged 15 to 44 in Switzerland. For those aged 10 to 19, it is the second biggest cause of death.


Meanwhile the very first to be adversely affected by these suicides are the train drivers. “Train drivers (involved in such incidents) are often in a state of shock,” Hubert Giger, president of the Swiss union of train drivers, revealed to Blick newspaper earlier this week.


“For that reason they are systematically replaced when such a thing occurs,” Giger said. He however added that they are also exposed to this phenomenon during their training.


In addition to that they are also making an awareness campaign among the employees so they can also help in bring down the numbers of suicide cases.


They are realistic though that because of the complicated nature of the issue it is not a social problem that can easily be solved with the campaign they have. “It’s a delicate issue,” SBB spokesman Christian Ginsig is quoted as saying by Blick. He admits that. “There are no quick fixes.”


Luckily the MP Maja Ingold, a member of the Evangelical People’s Party (EVP) from Zurich also sees the growing problem and has filed a parliamentary motion to have a national action plan to address the problem and easily identify people that need help. Ingold’s motion is now in being considered in the lower house after it was supported by the SBB, the Swiss senate and the Swiss association of psychiatry and psychotherapy.




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