Characteristics of suicide hotspots on the Belgian railway network

Kevin Debbaut, Karolina Krysinska, Karl Andriessen

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12 Citations (Scopus)


In 2004, railway suicide accounted for 5.3% of all suicides in Belgium. In 2008, Infrabel (Manager of the Belgian Railway Infrastructure) introduced a railway suicide prevention programme, including identification of suicide hotspots, i.e., areas of the railway network with an elevated incidence of suicide. The study presents an analysis of 43 suicide hotspots based on Infrabel data collected during field visits and semi-structured interviews conducted in mental health facilities in the vicinity of the hotspots. Three major characteristics of the hotspots were accessibility, anonymity, and vicinity of a mental health institution. The interviews identified several risk and protective factors for railway suicide, including the training of staff, introduction of a suicide prevention policy, and the role of the media. In conclusion, a comprehensive railway suicide prevention programme should continuously safeguard and monitor hotspots, and should be embedded in a comprehensive suicide prevention programme in the community.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)274-277
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Journal of Injury Control and Safety Promotion
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • railway suicide
  • suicide hotspots
  • suicide prevention

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