Zero Suicide Alliance (ZSA) were approached by local councils in 2021, to develop suicide awareness training for taxi and private hire drivers across the UK.
The councils included were:
- Bath and North East Somerset Council
- Bristol City Council
- East Sussex County Council
- Kent County Council
- Kirklees Council
- Oxfordshire County Council
- Somerset County Council
- South Gloucestershire Council
- Surrey County Council
- Wirral Council
Challenges and aims
Taxi drivers are identified as an occupation as high risk of suicide and they also experience incidents where passengers may want to end their life. Following incidents identified in the South East region where suicidal individuals had used taxis to travel to locations to end their lives, a regional meeting was called to consider an appropriate regional response.
Local councils recognised that there was a national need for a bespoke suicide awareness training package to support taxi and private hire drivers. Drivers should learn how to identify the possible risk factors of suicide. It is also important they are confident in addressing concerns about suicide in a concise and direct way, and that they know where they can signpost to support for their passengers and themselves.
The aim of this project was to develop a 10-minute online suicide awareness training course for taxi and private hire drivers to equip, empower, and educate about suicide and conversations around the topic.
Working in collaboration with local councils, and support from drivers, the development process for the training began.
Figure 1: Timeline of the development stages for the training module
Project scope and initiation
This involved project planning and working with Dynamic (bespoke training developers) to begin the development of the training. A steering group was established which included all stakeholders involved in the project.
A survey was sent out to 36 taxi and private hire drivers, which aimed to gauge what they would want from the training. This allowed the ZSA team and steering group to better understand drivers’ experiences of dealing with suicidal individuals.
- 39% of respondents said that they had noticed someone struggling with their mental health in their cab.
- 34% of respondents said they asked what was going on.
- 72% of respondents said they were able to talk to them.
- 30% of respondents said they did not signpost them to support services if the passenger told them they were suicidal.
This survey identified where there were gaps in the drivers’ knowledge, and how the course could build on this. By the end of the course, drivers should feel both equipped and empowered to have a conversation with someone who is feeling suicidal.
Content development and module build
The script for the training which was written by the ZSA team and reviewed and approved by the project steering group. ZSA then worked with Dynamic to produce the training, which involved casting actors and filming.
This course has been developed for taxi and private hire drivers but can be taken by anyone over the age of 16.
About the course
- This course shares information about suicide and coaches you through a taxi driver and passenger related scenario to help you recognise signs of suicidal behaviour and have a conversation with someone you may be worried about.
- The scenario will follow the See, Say, Signpost model which helps the learner understand how conversations about suicide can play out in real life. Each will be narrated by a buddy who will coach the learner through the conversation.
- Suicide awareness and prevention support resources including support lines, websites, and text services.
- On completion of the training, users will receive a certificate to demonstrate their commitment to playing their part in helping prevent incidences of suicide.
Outcomes and benefits
The training was piloted between April to June 2023, during this time the training was taken 489 times. Of this number:
- 79% of people who have taken this training are from the UK.
- 7.6% are from the US.
ZSA have set up a feedback survey, so that people that accessed the training can share their thoughts. Of the people that shared their feedback:
- 93% felt more confident after taking the training.
- 100% would recommend the training.
Further comments include:
- “This is a good basic training and by encouraging taxi drivers to be more confident and to ask these questions, it could save a life.”
- “Feel the training was just the right length and pace.”
- “This E-Learning session for taxi drivers is brilliant, I think a lot will find it beneficial and the shortness of it will mean more will be inclined to take up the training.”
- “Easy to follow and interesting course content that felt very relevant to me.”
- “It was easy to engage and follow.”
- The ZSA will work with local councils and taxi companies to roll this training out nationally.
- To develop resources specific to supporting taxi drivers.
Other ZSA suicide awareness and prevention training is also available:
- ZSA Gateway Module (5-10 minutes)
- ZSA 'Step Up' Social Isolation Module (5-10 minutes)
- ZSA Suicide Awareness Training - Welsh edition (20 minutes)
- ZSA Suicide Awareness Training - student edition (20 minutes)
- ZSA Suicide Awareness Training - veteran edition (20 minutes)
For more information and to take these training courses, access the Zero Suicide Alliance training page.
The aim of the ZSA Case Studies is to introduce users to a range of examples of new and innovative practice, with the broad aim of working to support people with their mental health, bring awareness to and help prevent incidence of suicide. Please seek further information by contacting the ZSA and appropriate professional input prior to making a decision over its use.
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Content last updated: 22/08/23