10th September marks World Suicide Prevention Day, which many charities are acknowledging by planning events and raising awareness.
Suicide can be a difficult topic of conversation for most people, let alone when you’re trying to bring it into the workplace and talk to your employees about it, but it is one that impacts many people.
In 2018, there were 6,507 deaths by suicide in the UK (far greater than the number of road traffic deaths at 1,784), with 75% of these deaths being men. Both men and women aged 45-49 had the highest rate of suicide.
The stats make for bleak reading, and yet, we’re still reluctant to discuss these topics. To dispel an urban myth, talking about suicide does not make someone more likely to commit suicide. In fact, it often has the opposite effect; it is likely to encourage them to talk and seek help.
As an employer, you have a duty of care to safeguard your employees' wellbeing, both mental and physical. So the workplace really is a worthwhile place to have these conversations, no matter how daunting they may seem.
Having Mental Health First Aiders in the workplace can help with this. They provide a point of contact for employees who may be struggling, enabling them to open up and be signposted to the best place to seek help. Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England can provide you with details on training individuals for this. If you do have some in the workplace, why not set aside some time in the diary where they can take calls from employees in a “drop-in” centre approach.
Similarly, an Employee Assistance Programme can be a great source of help. However, if someone has stated they plan to take their own life, please remember to make an emergency call to 999 and get them the help they need.
By encouraging conversations in the workplace, you’re likely to be surprised by what people have to say. Suicide leaves a lasting impact on those left behind too, talking about it can relieve some of that pressure.
Why not do something amazing this Suicide Prevention Day and start moving your workplace towards the path of open and honest conversations? You can literally save lives by doing so.
For further information please visit the resources below: