Beijing's Subway Workers Trained to Prevent Suicides

By Justine Lopez, April 7, 2016

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After a rash of suicides on Beijing’s subways in recent years, some of the city's subway stations are taking measures to prevent any further incidents. The Qianmen Station on Line 2 recently trained its employees to identify potential jumpers, the Global Times reported Monday. 

Psychology experts from Beijing's Huilongguan Hospital were commissioned to educate the station’s employees on suicide detection, prevention and counseling. They were also coached on proper rescue tactics. Station employees are now able to recognize the signs of potential suicidal passengers and how to properly attempt to talk them out of it, one expert said. 

Station workers were also taught to approach suspicious passengers – especially those who appear to be depressed or have been wandering around the station for long periods of time – and encourage them to seek professional help immediately. 

Experts also educated workers on how to cope with the trauma of witnessing such incidents, as many unfortunately have.

Fuxingmen Station is also taking further precautions to prevent these tragic incidents. Because numerous people have fallen or jumped onto the tracks of the busy Line 1 station, four people are now employed solely to watch over passengers. 

Subway deaths have been an ongoing problem in the city. But now that the number of passengers using Beijing’s metros are at a record high, the issue is all the more pressing. 

On March 2, a passenger at Wanshoulu subway station reportedly jumped onto the tracks and was killed by an oncoming train. However, that was only the most recent incident. Since January 2014, 39 people have reportedly fallen or jumped onto the city’s subway tracks. In 26 of these cases passengers intentionally jumped, whereas four accidentally fell. Most of these incidents occurred during rush hour, when the metro is at its most crowded.

Twenty-one of these incidents happened along Line 1 and 11 occurred on Line 2. These lines happen to be the oldest in Beijing and are therefore the only lines that don’t have doors to shield passengers from the tracks and oncoming trains. There are currently 23 stops on Line 1 and 18 stops on Line 2 without these security doors. 

Because the stations along lines 1 and 2 are more than 20 years old, they need to undergo a redesign to accommodate these shielding doors. The project is ongoing and is expected to be finished by June of this year.

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