Suicide by Metra train a cause for concern in the Chicago area

Suicides are on the rise nationally, but locally three recent incidents involving Metra trains are a cause for concern.

Only one of those incidents so far is being called a suicide, but Metra is trying to be proactive to train its employees to identify people who are in trouble.

“I always believe that there is a lot of opportunity to help people if we just know what the problems are,” said Don Orseno of Metra.

Within the last week, at least one person has committed suicide on the Metra rails. Two other people were killed by trains, but those deaths are still being investigated. That’s why Metra is training its employees to identify people who may be considering suicide.

"What we're trying to do is let people know is that there is other options, there's other solutions and you can work through those solutions,” said Orseno.

The National Center for Health Statistics says the overall suicide rate is up 24 percent, raising the suicide rate to a 30-year-high.

This has been an issue for Metra in the past. The Federal Railroad Administration lists 10 suicides involving Metra trains in all of last year. So far this year alone, four deaths appear to be intentional.

Metra believes prevention is key, but it also involves people at home and there are signs to look for besides depression.

“They might be giving things away, they might suddenly feel more energy or more positive and the family or co-workers might misinterpret that as sort of people getting better, no longer depressed. But, it may be an indication they they've made a decision to complete a suicide,” said associated professor at UIC Scott Langenecker.

Commuters have mixed feelings on efforts to find people on the train platforms.

“It's the smart thing to do. Imagine being the guy driving the train, that hit the lady, you're trying to stop a however many ton vehicle, so you don't hit her and you hit her anyway,” said Tim Morey.

"It's sad, but it's life and it happens. Unfortunately we can't stop it, we can try,” said Tabbatha Cain.

The good news in all of this is that doctors say treatments for people considering suicide are getting better. If you or someone you know is in need of help, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.