Blue LED light sources are being installed at Scottish level crossings to help reduce an unexplained spike in suicides on the country’s rail network.
The number of suspected suicides have doubled over the period of the last six months on the Scottish railways, a trend that is the opposite of a UK-wide declining number.
The lighting has been installed at a level crossing in Stirling, a noted suicide hotspot. There is no obvious reason for the suicide spike and the deaths have involved a number of locations, however a common factor in all cases is the trauma caused to the families involved and the significant train disruption and costs that each case prompts.
Some people believe that blue LED lights change a person’s mood. The colour blue is also associated with authority, such as the police and emergency services. It has been suggested that even a small distraction, prompting a momentary change in the direction of thought, can impact a suicidal person's course and alter mindset.
Something as simple as changing lighting can help alter the environment and influence behaviour.
Blue LED light has been utilised successfully on the Japanese railway network where it was seen as a considerable factor in a four-fifths reduction in suicides.
‘We have put in place a range of initiatives to try to reduce fatalities on the railway. We’re working with Samaritans to help train railway staff in how to identify and approach people exhibiting suicidal behaviour, and we also have posters and signs raising awareness of the Samaritans’ helpline in stations and at level crossings. Even something as simple as changing lighting can help alter the environment and influence behaviour,’ a Network Rail spokesperson commented.
Similar blue LED lights are also being used at some railway stations in England, such as Gatwick, where it is hoped that blue lights authority connotations will help to reduce anti-social behaviour.