Samaritans and Keolis Commuter Services Expand Partnership 

Together, Keolis and Samaritans are destigmatizing mental health and preventing suicide 

In March 2024, Keolis Commuter Services (Keolis) and Samaritans expanded our ten-year partnership to provide mental health and suicide prevention training to Commuter Rail frontline personnel. Throughout this year, Samaritans will develop the training program, including the facilitation of focus groups, stakeholder interviews, and training materials. Training is set to begin in the fall of 2024. 

“We are proud of our longstanding partnership with Samaritans, and we are excited to collaborate with them to provide our workforce with training and resources on suicide prevention,” said Abdellah Chajai, CEO and General Manager of Keolis Commuter Services, which operates the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s Commuter Rail system. “Our frontline workers at Keolis interact with thousands of people every day and this training will give them the tools they need to help someone who may be in crisis. If through this training we can help save just one life, that will already be a success.” 

Kathleen C. Marchi (left) of Samaritans and Abdellah Chajai (right) of Keolis Commuter Services.

Teaching Lifesaving Skills to Frontline Workers 

Through the training program, we will educate Keolis frontline employees on the topic of mental health, including identifying people at risk, developing strategies for engaging with a person in crisis, whether a colleague or a member of the public, and connecting someone in need with mental health resources. 

“Our ultimate goal is to create a safer and more supportive environment for everyone,” said Samaritans Chief Executive Officer & President Kathleen C. Marchi. “By empowering these workers to take care of their own mental health and equipping them with the skills to recognize and respond to mental health crises, this project will undoubtedly save lives.” 

Over the last 50 years, we have taught mental health and suicide prevention skills to more than 180,000 people through our community education and outreach workshops. This partnership marks a significant step forward in providing this lifesaving information to Commuter Rail frontline personnel who can draw on this expertise every day. 

Creating a Program that Works to Spread Compassion 

Suicide prevention does not look the same in every community or workplace. That’s why we will tailor the program to the specific needs of Keolis. Our team will interview employees and key stakeholders to understand what works for them, developing a series of training modules that teach Commuter Rail personnel the skills to deescalate situations they may encounter in their work. 

“Mental health training is essential for creating supportive environments where individuals feel comfortable seeking help and support,” said Kacy Maitland, Samaritans Chief Clinical Officer. “Through this program, Commuter Rail personnel will gain valuable insights into identifying signs of distress, communicating effectively with individuals in crisis, and connecting them with appropriate resources. These skills are not only critical for intervening in potential crises but also for fostering a culture of empathy and compassion.” 

Leading the Way as a Corporate Sponsor 

Keolis has been a partner of Samaritans since 2014, sponsoring our annual Breakfast for Hope and 5K Run/Walk for Suicide Prevention. Keolis has collaborated with Samaritans to host in-station resource tables that share lifesaving mental health information with Commuter Rail riders and continues to feature signage across its network that highlights the 988 National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, which includes the Samaritans 24/7 Helpline. 

In addition to this project, Keolis has signed on as the lead sponsor for the 2024 Breakfast for Hope, which will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Samaritans. The Breakfast will be held on May 17, 2024, at the Hilton Boston Park Plaza.    

“Keolis is leading the way as a corporate suicide prevention advocate in Massachusetts. They are taking action to cultivate mental health within their walls with Samaritans and spreading awareness by sponsoring events like our Breakfast for Hope,” said Kathy. “Together, we can create a world without suicide.” 

2024 Breakfast for Hope

Friday, May 17, 2024

Join us to support our mission to prevent suicide and provide hope and support to those affected by it.