Roving mental health nurse to offer crisis support on east London rail services

East London NHS Foundation Trust's Rachel Luby will be a roving mental health nurse across Greater A

East London NHS Foundation Trust's Rachel Luby will be a roving mental health nurse across Greater Anglia train services. Picture: ELFT - Credit: Archant

A roving mental health nurse will be stationed on train services in east London this autumn in an initiative to support rail users in crisis.

Rachel Luby will offer support to Greater Anglia rail users who are vulnerable or in extreme distress and raise awareness of how people can be protected from coming to harm on the railways.

The joint initiative by Network Rail and East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT) will promote access to services and inform travellers on the preventative care measures they can take to protect their mental health and others’.

Ms Luby will primarily be based at stations in east London on the Greater Anglia network, which include London Liverpool Street, Stratford and Romford.

She said: “We are all aware of how Covid-19 is affecting people’s mental health.

“Railway staff and the British transport police are already doing important work to support people in crisis, but they are not mental health professionals.

“Part of my role is educating people so they feel able to intervene.”

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In 2018/19, there were 271 suicides on the national rail network and London Underground combined.

Research shows extreme mental distress is often temporary, and if people have access to the right support at the right time, they can recover from such a crisis.

“Suicide affects not only the person that has ended their life, but it has a ripple effect, whereby family, friends and co-workers are affected, those that witnessed or had to manage the event, the emergency services, the local community,” Ms Luby said.

“Mental health is something we should all be able to talk about and to not feel embarrassed or ashamed to ask for help.

“There is help available.”

Ms Luby was named Royal College of Nursing mental health nurse of the year in 2019 and has a nursing background in psychiatric intensive care, forensics and crisis service.

ELFT medical director Dr Paul Gilluley said: “I would like to thank Network Rail for being so proactive and forward-thinking in making this role possible.

“Supporting people in extreme mental distress is more urgent now than ever. Rachel has a depth of experience and knowledge, and I know that her commitment and dynamism will make a qualitative difference to people’s lives.”