Exploring the Role of the Railroad Industry in Promoting Suicide Prevention

On Tuesday, January 21, 2014, executives from U.S. railroad companies came together with suicide prevention experts to answer the guiding question: “What is known about effective suicide prevention measures, broadly speaking, and what role, if any, can the railroad industry play in supporting and advancing these efforts?” Using the public-private partnership model of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, the meeting was innovative in exploring whether and how a major industry might contribute to reducing the overall societal toll of suicide. Therefore, the focus was on suicide as a broad national problem, rather than on any specific type of suicide. The goal was not to develop an industrywide strategy, but rather for each company to become better educated about suicide prevention and decide its own next steps following the meeting. Prior to the meeting, we identified at least four ways that railroad companies might potentially facilitate or support efforts to reduce suicide: As large employers, they offer health and wellness programs, policies, and benefits for their own employees;They are large purchasers of health care and behavioral health services, and thus may have opportunities to influence those systems; Because their industry is affected by multiple laws and regulations, they have extensive public policy experience across levels of government; and they support an array of initiatives and programs in the communities in which they operate.