10th September is World Suicide Prevention Day, an annual awareness event established to raise awareness about suicide across the globe and to work together to prevent it. In some locations it is also World Suicide Prevention Month.
To help those in with suicidal thoughts, where do you start? What do you say? Who do you talk to? How do you make it more than a one-off?
The wonderful Mates in Mind Charity has a range of resources to help the individual, colleagues/family and employer find a path through this most sensitive of subjects.
Employers can play a critical role in helping to prevent suicides. Clearly, there is a moral case, but there is also a strong business case, which demonstrates that prevention needs to be at the heart of changes to organisational culture.
Organisations can build a culture of prevention incorporating strategies, tools and support across their employee base, which support their employees' mental health and wellbeing at work.
This, combined with improved awareness and understanding, opportunities for further education around both suicide prevention and mental health and a commitment to improvement from across the organisation, can all produce a workplace culture geared towards ongoing prevention.
Employers can empower their workforces to have difficult yet important conversations about mental health and suicide by creating an open and inclusive culture. If employees are supported with the awareness and understanding of how and where they can get support, in an environment where they do not feel judged or restricted by stigma, they will feel more able to get the support they need.
A workplace culture where conversations are encouraged, and mental health and wellbeing are being proactively supported and destigmatised by employers, can be crucial in tackling these complex challenges.
It's is important to take a joined-up, holistic approach as both mental ill-health and suicide are highly complex issues, impacted by a number of factors from across individuals lives.
Mates in Mind has developed an employer’s action plan that we fully support, to enable employers to change the way they think, talk and tackle mental health within their organisation, to support the positive mental wellbeing of their employees at work.
General awareness: By improving general awareness about mental ill-health and suicide, organisations can begin to challenge the stigma around the topics. This may include:
Start the conversation: Depending on the context of your discussion, there are many ways the conversation can be started in work. This may include:
Discuss the topic using sensitive and inclusive language:
Lead by example: When seeking to drive a meaningful change, it is crucial that those at a director/ manager level within an organisation show that they are actively supporting good mental wellbeing in the context of work. This may include:
Access to, and signposting available services: By making sure you are clear what benefits and support are available directly to staff or workers in your organisation or elsewhere. This may include:
Training: By attending training, individuals can develop the necessary understanding and skills to help support how they think, talk and promote better mental health. Individuals from across all roles within an organisation can benefit from training such as:
Duradiamond Healthcare is an Occupational Health Physician-led provider, serving organisations across the UK and Republic of Ireland. We can help, with expert guidance and advice on policy and implementation. Speak to us today.
Read our article on how you as an individual can make a difference.