UP NEXT THIS CAN HAPPEN CONFERENCE 16-17 NOVEMBER BOOK NOW FOR 15% DISCOUNT

How workplaces can support employees and spot signs of suicidal thoughts

Between January and March of this year there were 1262 deaths by suicide[1]. Whilst it is not known what impact the pandemic will have on these figures, experts believe it is likely that we will see an increase both in rates of suicide and mental ill health. 

The reasons someone takes their own life are complex; however, there are some known risk factors[2] including difficulties accessing or receiving care, relationship breakdown and financial loss. Many of these may have been exacerbated in recent months and people who are facing redundancy or have experienced bereavement may be particularly vulnerable. 

As always a workplace culture that normalises mental health, where it is okay to talk about having a bad day or where managers trained in mental health awareness routinely check out how staff are doing from a personal and professional perspective is one that lays the groundwork for those more sensitive issues. 

Regularly communicating the different places people can receive support is essential, and should include information on a range of difficulties people might be facing including financial, addiction, abuse and bereavement as well as details of mental health and suicide support services. Employers can also develop tailored suicide awareness guidance and arrange for online training, awareness sessions[3] or invite guest speakers with lived experience to share their stories. 

Finally, it is important to ensure that anything you do is part of your overall mental health and wellbeing plan and has senior leaders’ support, managers’ understanding and employee involvement. A collective approach promotes a powerful message that everyone has responsibility for their own and each other’s wellbeing. 
 

Abigail Hirshman
Workplace Programme Director
Charlie Waller Trust

[1] ONS Statistics Provisional Data Jan-Apr 2020
[2] https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/a-to-z/s/suicide
[3] MerseyCare NHS Trust Suicide Awareness Online 

 

Sign up for our monthly newsletter

Keep up-to-date on new resources & content from This Can Happen

Sign up now

This Can Happen Friends

Interested in becoming a This Can Happen Friend? Find out more about our 12 month rolling programme to support employee mental health strategies within your workplace.

FIND OUT MORE

This Can Happen has truly helped to move the needle on mental health and wellbeing in the workplace, providing access to exceptional speakers, innovative ideas and practical solutions for how businesses can work together with staff, customers and broader stakeholders to ensure that everyone can thrive at work and be fully supported with any mental health challenges they may face.

Sarah Boddey, Senior VP, Northern Trust