SEPTA partnered with the Veterans Affairs and local first responders to launch a new suicide prevention campaign that focuses on police officers, firefighters, military veterans, and other emergency responders.
Numbers show that there has been an increase in suicides among first responders and veterans. A study done by the Ruderman Foundation shows that in 2017, 103 firefighters and 140 police officers committed suicide. This year alone, New York’s police force has lost ten officers to suicide, compared to previous years which saw an average of between four and five.
As part of the #YouMatter campaign, SEPTA is creating new posters to display in the subway and in cars throughout the system to raise awareness about the epidemic.
The posters will showcase behaviors for those who might be at risk for suicide. The signs will also offer resources and contact information for those in need of help.
SEPTA Assistant General Manager of System Safety Jim Fox said in a press release that, “SEPTA transports one million people every day, some possibly struggling with suicide… The car cards and posters deliver the very important message that, when you think there is no hope for your situation, someone is there to listen and help.”
The agency partners with the Regional Suicide Task Force of Southeastern Pennsylvania (RSFTP), which aims to educate riders about resources available for those impacted or affected by suicide.
This year, they received a grant for $16,754 from Operation Lifesaver Inc to help raise awareness. Operation Lifesaver is a non-profit that focuses on reducing collisions, fatalities, and injuries related to transportation.
SEPTA was one of the ten chosen to receive this grant.
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, called the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Additionally, there is also a special First Responder Support Team available at (267) 893-5200.