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#You Matter

Heather Redfern
Public Information Manager

Illness, financial hardship, family crises - the reasons that lead someone to commit suicide are varied and, in some cases, never known. On September 10 - Suicide Prevention Day- SEPTA and the Regional Suicide Prevention Task Force of Southeastern Pennsylvania (RSPTF) partnered on an educational outreach program to let the public know that assistance is available for those contemplating suicide. SEPTA Safety Officers and RSPTF volunteers distributed pamphlets at Warminster, Colmar, Hatboro, Primos, East Falls, Malvern, Croydon and Trevose Regional Rail Stations and Tasker-Morris Broad Street Line Station during the morning rush hour. Later, SEPTA Assistant General Manager of System Safety Jim Fox, Bucks County Commissioner Diane Ellis-Marseglia and RSPTF coordinator Stephanie Gimeno unveiled the car card for the #YouMatter suicide prevention campaign that will appear on all of the more than 1,400 buses in SEPTA's fleet and on digital signs on trains and at train stations.

"SEPTA transports one million people every day, some possibly struggling with suicide. The pamphlets and car cards deliver the very important message that, when you think there is no hope for your situation, someone is there to listen and help," said Fox. "The Suicide Prevention Lifeline can also assist someone who believes a family member or friend is contemplating suicide."

As of September 10, eight SEPTA rail fatalities for 2018 were confirmed suicides. Over 50 percent of the fatalities on SEPTA's rail system each year are ruled suicides. "These deaths are devastating for the families and loved ones of those killed, and overwhelming for our train engineers, operators and conductors; staff that respond to the accident scene; and customers either onboard our trains or at stations when the incidents occur," said Fox.

"Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death nationally. For every death, there are 25 people who will attempt to take their own life," said RSPTF coordinator Stephanie Gimeno. "The task force strives for communities to know that with help there is hope."

RSPTF is a collaboration of local taskforces in southeastern Pennsylvania working together to educate, prevent and create awareness around the issue of suicide. The partnership with SEPTA furthers the Authority's suicide prevention outreach efforts. In 2014, SEPTA began installing signs for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at all of its Regional Rail and rail transit stations. Today, more than 1,000 signs are posted across the SEPTA service area.

"If you or someone you know is thinking of suicide, call the Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK," said Gimeno. "Help is available 24 hours a day."

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is answered locally by Family Service Association of Bucks County, Montgomery County Emergency Services and Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disabilities.

From left: SEPTA Assistant General Manager of System Safety Jim Fox, RSPTF Coordinator Stephanie Gimeno, RSPTF volunteers and Bucks County Commissioner Diane Ellis-Marseglia participated in the Suicide Prevention Day event at Warminster Station.

The #YouMatter car card will appear on all 1,400 SEPTA buses and on digital ads on Silverliner Vs and at stations.

Commissioner Ellis-Marseglia spoke about her family's experience with suicide.