Blackpool train driver who had PTSD after railway suicide runs the Berlin Marathon to help ReThink mental health charity
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Andy Hall, 46, developed mental illness after a person threw themselves in front of his train in June 2021.
He was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and said his supportive family helped him to recover.
Andy lives in Normoss with his wife, Helen and two children. He said: “I’m fortunate to have people to talk to. Unfortunately the people who make these decisions don’t always feel like they have that option.”
So he wants other people facing mental health challenges to know that there is help available.
He had been working for Northern Trains for six years, and had to take 12 weeks leave to come to terms with what happened. He also had counselling, arranged by his employer.
He added: “I was questioning if there was anything I could have done differently to avoid it. It took a few weeks to sink in. I know now there’s nothing I can do about it, that person had already made their decision. The counselling helped me to accept that it wasn’t my fault.”
He returned to work after three months, but was increasingly aware that deaths on the railway lines is a big problem.
“It doesn’t stop me getting on with my job, but I still think about it. I don’t think people realise how often it happens. The suicide rate is appalling, with around 250 deaths a year on the railways. It never really gets talked about but it has a big knock-on effect.”
There were 314 deaths on UK railways in 2019/20. 280 of those were suicides, according to Statista.
Andy’s experience had made him passionate about helping others who are struggling with suicidal thoughts.
He was also diagnosed with PTSD after being in a submarine crash in 2008 while serving in the Royal Navy.
So he wanted to raise awareness and do something to help others who were coping with these issues.
Andy and Helen are running the Berlin Marathon on Sunday 24th Sept to raise money for ReThink Mental Illness.
“I’ve run the London Marathon before, but this is the first time we’ve run a marathon together, so it should be good. We hope to raise £2000 between us.”
You can donate to their cause through www.justgiving.com/fundraising/andy-hall47.
Rethink Mental Illness run a network of over 140 local support groups, including some within Lancashire.
Their website contains loads of advice and factsheets about living with various mental health conditions, or what to do if you are concerned about a loved one. Learn more at https://www.rethink.org/
They also recommend the Shout text service if you are having suicidal thoughts. Text ‘Shout’ to 85258 for a free instant chat with a trained volunteer. Learn more at www.giveusashout.org/