November 28, 2018
by Kimberly Lucey
Last Updated: 12/7/18, 09:52
"Each man's life touches so many other lives. When he isn't around, he leaves an awful hole, doesn't he?"
The wise words of Clarence the Angel mean more to many than just the lines of a movie. And now, the script of "It's a Wonderful Life" will be on display for train commuters to see in England this holiday season. In a partnership with Rethink Mental Illness, Virgin Trains employees will paint the script on platforms starting from London Euston to Glasgow Central.
Frank Capra's classic 1946 film follows the journey of one man who thinks he has so many problems, he needs to end it all. Instead, he looks back on how different the world would be were he not in it. Rethink Mental Illness says their goal of sharing the script is a message of hope, passion and understanding.
It's a concept Virgin train managers say they've learned all to well. One of them, Gary, spotted a woman out of the corner of his eye just last month. She'd walked onto the tracks into the path of an oncoming train in front of hundreds of passengers. Gary had gone through training with Rethink Mental Illness and knew how important it was to be on the same level as someone in this situation. So, in front of the crowd, he got down onto the tracks to be with her, putting his own safety at risk.
Gary says the woman had a knife and told him "I just want to die." He said he turned to his training, telling her "we've all got problems" and talking her through a few options of support. Gary says she felt everyone was against her in that moment, but he stuck to it, and after a long process, they both agreed to get off the tracks.
Virgin Trains says they offer counseling for employees, as well as that training with Rethink Mental Illness. Managers make sure to reach out to drivers who have been involved in fatalities, saying they recognize it's the toughest part of their job.
Now their message will be on display for millions of travelers to see. They'll see more messages of inspiration from Clarence the Angel, such as his final note to George: "Remember, no man is a failure who has friends". Throughout the script will be revelations of life's true greatest accomplishment from George Bailey, discovering the richness of his little town and family, and the ending with the entire cast singing Auld Lang Syne. Though eye catching and thought provoking, the script will serve a very practical purpose, stenciled alongside information and links to online advice about ways to intervene when someone is struggling with mental illness.
Rethink Mental Illness has been working for 40 years with the goal of attaining a better life for everyone affected by mental illness. They have more than 200 mental health services and 150 support groups across England, working to provide advice and information to families affected by mental health problems.
About the Author
Kim Lucey is a freelance journalist with more than a decade of experience in the field. Her career has included coverage of big breaking news events like the Sandy Hook school shooting, lockdown in Watertown, MA following the Boston marathon bombings, and Superstorm Sandy. Her in-depth reports have garnered awards, including a focus on treating mental health issues in children. Currently, she is a reporter at a television station covering the news across the Greater Boston Area with an appreciation for fact-finding and storytelling. Follow Kim on Facebook and Twitter.