Rotary clubs lead effort to prevent suicides by train in Northwest suburbs

 
 
Posted2/21/2018 5:18 AM
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  • Signs like this one attached to an outside wall of Barrington's Metra station are going up at stops along the Union Pacific Northwest Line in an effort to encourage people in need to seek help. Barrington's Rotary clubs are behind the initiative.

      Signs like this one attached to an outside wall of Barrington's Metra station are going up at stops along the Union Pacific Northwest Line in an effort to encourage people in need to seek help. Barrington's Rotary clubs are behind the initiative. Bob Susnjara | Staff Photographer

  • This sign attached to an outside wall of Barrington's Metra station near the train platform offers a way to find help as part of a suicide prevention effort along the Union Pacific Northwest Line. Barrington's Rotary clubs are behind the initiative.

      This sign attached to an outside wall of Barrington's Metra station near the train platform offers a way to find help as part of a suicide prevention effort along the Union Pacific Northwest Line. Barrington's Rotary clubs are behind the initiative. Bob Susnjara | Staff Photographer

Suicide prevention signs have gone up at stations along Metra's Union Pacific Northwest Line in the Northwest suburbs, part of an effort to encourage people needing help to seek it.

Members of Barrington's two Rotary clubs pursued the idea with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline after learning of a similar program for Metra's BNSF stations launched about a year ago by the Rotary Club of Naperville Sunrise.

"It's a subject that's very important," Barrington Noon Rotary Club member Gene Dawson said Tuesday.

Each station on the Northwest Line from Harvard to Chicago now has a sign attached on an inside wall and another on an exterior wall near the tracks. The signs read, "You are not alone. Make the call," and include the Lifeline number, 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Barrington Village President Karen Darch said she supports the Rotary effort to prevent suicide by train. There have been multiple suicides on the tracks in and around Barrington in recent years.

"If you can reach one person to not do something, that would be huge," Darch said. "We're happy to see any preventive measures taken."

Dawson worked on the initiative with Barrington Breakfast Rotary member Jeanne Hanson, executive director of Samaritan Counseling Center of the Northwest Suburbs. Samaritan Counseling is on Hart Road in Barrington.

Rotary Club of Arlington Heights member Glenn Garlick was credited with gaining permission from Union Pacific for the installation of the signs at all the local stations.

Rotary organizations paid for the signs, which were put up by Union Pacific.

In the most recently available report, Metra listed 20 confirmed and suspected suicides out of 30 fatalities on its lines in 2016.

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