“I have nominated Thomas Bentley for the RailStaff 2022 awards because he has shown a level of dedication and compassion to his duties and responsibilities to the travelling public in his role as a Mobile Operations Manager.
Tom has been involved in several incidents involving vulnerable people on the Operational Railway. He is conscious of an increasing number of vulnerable persons being drawn to the railway since the Pandemic. Tom has also completed Mental Health First Aid training. This training has given Tom a better understanding of mental health issues and how to approach those suffering and contemplating taking their own life confidently and safely. Tom is also mindful of the trauma and grief a fatality brings to a bereaved family along with first responders and members of the travelling public witnessing the fatality.
Tom recently found himself in a situation where he was able to contact the Signaller in time to stop trains entering a Station. Tom observed a young woman get down from the platform on to the track to await an approaching train. When confirmation that safety arrangements were in place Tom was able to confidently approach the young woman named Laura and calmly convince her to allow him to escort her off the track and to a place of safety outside the station. Tom remained with Laura until she was calm and composed, regrettably Tom was unable to convince Laura to wait the arrival of Emergency Services, they were not able to attend to Laura as she left the station before they arrived.
Tom has never voiced or shown complacency when called to respond to increasing reports of suspected vulnerable persons. When Tom is on duty, he’s aware and ready to quickly respond. Tom has a personal experience of suicide as some years ago a school friend took his own life. With his area knowledge and previous experience, Tom is conscious of specific locations where vulnerable persons have previously been reported. During his patrols of the area Stations, Tom can observe and recognise the demeanour and temperament of those persons who may be at risk. Tom believes it’s possible to prevent a vulnerable person contemplating or taking their own life by the intervention of approaching the person in a passive and non-threatening way and asking “Are you Okay.
Tom has also taken an active role raising funds for CLIC Sargent, Cancer Research and the British Heart Foundation along with several Homeless Charities.“
“Tommy was on shift when he was requested to support following a report of a suicidal female on board an Southern service at Victoria Station.
I have included his account below as his actions prevented a potentially tragic incident happening and saved the life on a young lady. This is a true example of getting everyone home safe everyday.
"I received a call to attend Platform 9 at 22:00 due to a report of a suicidal female onboard the Southern train. The young lady was not responding to any Platform staff. I arrived and immediately tried making a calm and collective approach to try and gain some conversation with her. She was crying on the train saying that she has had enough with being alive and said she wanted to end her life. She explained that she was going to overdose herself when she gets home. After a few short minutes of talking to the young lady I managed to persuade her to step off from the train and offered her on a 1 to 1 basis to come and have a cup of tea and a sit down. After some influence she agreed to come with me. We then went to have a cup of tea for about half an hour giving her the opportunity to open up and let some steam out. She told me she would only talk to me if it was between me and her and no police or mental support services was involved. After a while I then gained her trust and told her that I do need to contact the BTP who could potentially assist within getting her home safe and I could not let her travel while feeling the way she was. She was very nervous but after some constant re-assurance I finally managed to get her approval in getting the BTP in. The BTP were called discreetly and arrived 5 minutes later in Reception where I kept her calm. BTP took over and carried out their own assessment where she eventually agreed to voluntarily go to hospital for a mental health assessment."“
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