The most famous quotes of Christmas classic It’s A Wonderful Life will appear on UK train platforms in a new mental health initiative.
Over 7.5km of memorable script from the 1947 hit – which tacitly chronicles one man’s suicide bid – will be spray-painted at 14 locations over the next two weeks, including; London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Preston, Carlisle and Glasgow.
The yellow markings will direct customers to information, advice and support around emotional well-being during the festive period.
The venture is a combined effort by UK charity Rethink Mental Illness and Virgin Trains, who’ll roll-out the project on their West Coast route.
Christmas classic with a timeless message: James Stewart and Donna Reid star in Frank Capra’s It’s A Wonderful Life, which tacitly addresses the issue of male suicide
Officially launched in London’s Euston today, it will snake up the country over the next 14 dates.
From here the quotes will appear in Rugby, Birmingham International and Birmingham New Street, then Stafford, Stoke-on-Trent and Crewe, before reaching Warrington Bank Quay, Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Piccadilly.
Eventually, they’ll appear in Preston, Penrith, Carlisle and Glasgow.
SUICIDE: THE STATISTICS
In 2017 there were 6,213 suicides in the UK and Republic of Ireland.
5,821 suicides were registered in the UK and 392 occurred in Ireland.
In the UK men remain three times more likely to take their own lives than women, and in the Republic of Ireland four times more likely.
The highest suicide rate in the UK was for men aged 45-49.
The highest suicide rate in the Republic of Ireland was for men aged 25–34 (with an almost identical rate for men aged 45–54).
SOURCE: The Samaritans
According to Rethink Mental Illness, the move could save countless lives over the festive period, when feelings of isolation can be exacerbated.
They cite month-by-month data from the Office of National Statistics, which shows a surge in suicides every January dating from 1981-2015.
This, they say, is thought to be due to the so-called January blues, when the celebrations are over, finances are stretched and the days are short.
Much like the film’s protagonist, George Bailey, it’s men who remain the most at-risk suicide group in the UK.
Data from The Samaritans – who consulted on the project – show that UK men remain three times more likely to take their own lives than women, while men in Ireland are four times more likely.
Intervention: A station employee at Euston adorns a platform with one of the film’s quotes, which reminds people of the importance of kindnesses this Christmas
Going live: The project – which name-checks the film’s guardian angel, Clarence – officially launched in London’s Euston today and will snake up the country over the fourteen dates
Compelling: The move could save countless lives during the Christmas and New Year celebrations, when feelings of isolation are exacerbated across the nation
Where and when will the quotes appear?
• Rugby – 23rd
• Birmingham Int. – 27th
• Birmingham New St. – 28th
• Stafford – 29th
• Stoke-on-Trent – 30th
• Crewe – 3rd
• Warrington Bank Quay – 4th
• Liverpool Lime Street – 5th
• Manchester Piccadilly – 6th
• Preston – 10th
• Penrith – 11th
• Carlisle – 12th
• Glasgow – 13th
To help combat this, the long-running charity recently implemented their own pre-emptive measure with a new campaign: Small Talk Saves Lives.
This encourages people to start a conversation if they see someone looking isolated, withdrawn or alone on a platform without boarding a train.
Natasha Grice, Executive Director of People at Virgin Trains, hopes their efforts will also be compelling.
‘It’s A Wonderful Life is a story of hope, redemption and kindness, which teaches us that having someone there for you when you need it the most is one of the greatest gifts you can receive.
‘Many of our people have been personally affected by the issues raised in this campaign or know someone who has been.
‘This is why we wanted to get as many of our staff involved as possible, working to create a message of kindness that will touch as many of our customers as we can.
‘We want everyone to know there’s help out there, and that if you’re not affected by poor mental health, it’s really easy to help someone who is.’
Wonderful: The messages direct customers – via a URL embedded in the copy – to information, advice and support around emotional well-being during the festive period
Moving: The poignant quotes are set to resonate with passengers on Virgin’s West Coast route
IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE: WHAT’S THE STORY?
When his savings and business crumbles, George Bailey (James Stewart) stands on a bridge on Christmas eve, contemplating suicide.
As if by magic, a guardian angel called Clarence visits him, and shows him what the world will be like without him.
This intervention convinces the much-loved husband and father of his worth – and ultimately saves his life.