HomePeopleAssociationsNew mental health organisation is launched for rail

New mental health organisation is launched for rail


As part of Mental Health Awareness Week, a new organisation has been formed to specifically focus on the psychological wellbeing of the sector.

Head-shunt is aimed at all who work on the railway and their families – with a view to working with rail operators, promoting education, undertaking research and operating wellbeing activity.

Ultimately, everything it does is to help the railway family be well and reduce the stigma around mental ill health.

It says that particular issues affect railway workers, including 24/7 working, peripatetic working, and routinely being out in all weathers. They can also be faced with dealing with irate customers on stations or trains and are often first responders to rail accidents. 

Rail work by its very nature can be lonely for people – the theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week.  

With over 100,000 staff directly employed in the UK rail industry and another 200,000 in support functions, mental fitness is key for staff whether working on a heritage railway, tram or metro operations or in UK heavy rail operations.

Speaking about the launch, lifelong railwayman Paul Stanford said: “With the strains and stresses on UK rail staff not just as a result of the day job, but the COVID crisis and the huge changes to the rail industry in the next few years, it’s key that staff in the railway family are well supported.

“We have received some great initial commitment from some of the UK’s largest rail operators including Network Rail, including their training of me as mental health first aider. I’m delighted also that people ranging from signallers to train drivers and office based colleagues have volunteered to help our cause.”

Paul began working on the railways when he was 16.  In Autumn, he was diagnosed in with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from attending rail accidents in his 37 year railway career. Supported by his wife Fiona, as he recovered, they were motivated to do something to help others in the UK railway family and the idea of creating a mental health charity specifically for the wider railway industry was born.

Co founder of Head-shunt; Fiona Ewing-Stanford said: “With personal experience of supporting a rail worker who suffered mental health issues and knowledge of issues affecting women’s mental health in the rail industry I think this is a great initiative; we really believe something additional to current measures is needed to support people in the railway family.

“We look forward to working with the railway family going forward.  The launch of Head-shunt in mental health awareness week 2022 sees a website go live as an initial resource to support and inspire people. Wellbeing events are planned in the coming year in addition to working with colleagues in the railway industry.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -

Latest news

A look at how ORR found Britain’s railways to be among the safest in Europe

ORR says our railways are among the safest in Europe. This follows its first comprehensive, five-year assessment of safety on our networks, taking up a...

Industrial action: more strikes could impact Jubilee weekend and services in Scotland

The RMT has had a fallout over management practices, leading to a potential strike that would affect two tube stations on Jubilee weekend: Euston...

Depot Optimisation Focus At Rolling Stock Maintenance Congress In June

As passenger rail operators seek to realise cost reductions through smarter, combined approaches to maintenance strategies and through new technologies to automate maintenance activities,...
- Advertisement -

More news

A “fitting tribute” in a Jubilee year: the Queen marks Elizabeth line completion

The Queen made an unexpected appearance to officially mark the completion of the Elizabeth line. Many were pleasantly surprised to see her – this time...

The industry comes together for Mental Health Awareness Week

Rail Insider looks at how the industry came together to talk and help one another during Mental Health Awareness Week. During Mental Health Awareness Week,...

RBD Rail Recruiter: by your side in your jobs search

The aim of RBD Rail Recruiter is to make things easy for both businesses and candidates – especially when some candidates will be taking...