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The Million Hour Challenge, and How You Can Get Involved

May 20, 2021

Mental Health Awareness Week took place last week, and talking about mental health has never been more important. The theme of last week was ‘Nature’, and those at Mental Health are encouraging everybody to get outside and #ConnectWithNature in solidarity with Mental Health Awareness Week, no matter the time of year. You should always take some time to reflect on how you cope with your mental health and wellbeing, and how those around you deal with theirs. 

Those in the rail industry and the transport industry are often more at risk when it comes to suffering from mental health issues. According to Network Rail, in 2019/20, there were 283 suicides on the railways overground, and more than 1,181 suicides were prevented by the Police, rail staff, or the general public. The Samaritans have their own suicide-prevention campaign called Small Talk Saves Lives, which highlights the idea of a small conversation with a listening volunteer having a huge difference in the lives of others.

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The Million Hour Challenge is also set up by the Samaritans, which is something that anyone who works in the rail sector/international railway sector can get involved with. Even if you don’t work within the rail recruitment solution, rail consultancy, or the rail industry in general, there are plenty of ways to take part in raising awareness and eliminating the stigma that surrounds mental health. 

This challenge is one that encourages people in the rail recruitment industry, the rail infrastructure industry, rail operators and even rail project managers to volunteer one million hours over the course of the next five years. 

These hours are made up of time spent supporting the Samaritans and talking to those who are struggling to cope with their mental health. The overall aim is to bring a better sense of well-being to the workplace and improve the mental health of those working in the rail industry. Another goal is to greatly reduce the number of suicides affecting this specific sector. 

There are many ways to participate, and lots of activities count towards the big million hour total. Whether your talents lie in planning fundraising events or you would rather volunteer your time talking to those in need, getting involved in any way you can is guaranteed to make a big difference to a lot of people.

Attending training days, completing a variety of toolkits online, or even just becoming a supporter of your local Samaritans branch are also all ways to contribute to that one million hour total. Help is always needed, and in recent years, it’s increasing in demand. Samaritans listen to everyone and are here to lend an ear no matter what. 

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To take part in the Million Hour Challenge, you’ll need to sign up through the official Million Hour Challenge website, and clarify whether you’re volunteering simply for yourself, or on behalf of an entire organisation. If you’re not part of the rail industry, there’s no need to worry, as there are still plenty of ways to play your part. By creating your online profile, you’re taking that one step closer to potentially saving someone’s life, and raising awareness for those with mental health issues. 

With Mental Health Awareness Week coming up, there’s never been a better time to sign up and take part in the Million Hour Challenge. It’s the perfect chance for the whole rail industry to come together and achieve something spectacular, by having the opportunity to support people with mental health issues all across the country. For more information about the Million Hour Challenge and how you and your rail team can best get involved, there are lots of resources online for you to learn more about it. Sign up today, and start raising awareness for mental health issues.


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