World Suicide Prevention Day 2023 is on September 10th. Its purpose is to raise awareness about suicide’s impact, openly discuss the issues and prevent future tragedies by providing necessary support.
In 2021 there were 5,583 registered deaths by suicide in England and Wales, equating to an average of 15 suicides per day [Source, ONS].
Suicide is a deeply impactful and upsetting issue that affects individuals from all walks of life, and the workplace is no exception. Given the significant amount of time employees spend at work, the workplace can have a substantial impact on mental health.
As responsible employers and colleagues, it is crucial to prioritise suicide prevention in the workplace. By fostering a supportive and understanding environment, we can play a vital role in promoting mental wellness and preventing tragic outcomes. We explore five ways in which the workplace can play a part in suicide prevention.
Raise Awareness and Reduce Stigma
The first step towards preventing suicide in the workplace is raising awareness and reducing the stigma surrounding mental health. Have open discussions about mental health and suicide, encouraging employees to share their thoughts and experiences without judgment. Additionally, implementing training programmes that educate staff about recognising the warning signs can help create a supportive culture that encourages colleagues to seek help without fear of discrimination.
Establish Support Systems
Building a network of support within the workplace is crucial for suicide prevention. Access to Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs) such as PAM Wellbeing’s, provide confidential counselling services for employees dealing with mental health challenges has increased. As have referrals to PAM Wellbeing’s enhanced psychological services. Furthermore, organisations utilise roles such as Mental Health First Aiders. Another positive step is to create resource guides containing contact information for local mental health organisations and hotlines, ensuring that employees know where to turn for help when needed.
Encourage Work-Life Balance
High levels of stress and burnout can contribute to feelings of hopelessness and depression. Encouraging a healthy work-life balance where possible, by offering mental health and wellbeing training and staff wellbeing days. This demonstrates that the organisation values the well-being of its employees and it can positively impact mental health and overall job satisfaction.
Foster a Supportive Work Environment
A supportive work environment can significantly impact an individual’s mental wellbeing. Encourage open communication, empathy and compassion among colleagues and supervisors. Train managers to recognise signs of distress in their team members and offer guidance on how to respond with sensitivity and understanding. Creating a safe space for employees to express their feelings can be pivotal in preventing suicide.
Organise Mental Health Initiatives
Implement regular mental health initiatives in the workplace to keep the conversation going and challenge the stigma that, for some, still surrounds mental health issues. Host workshops, webinars, or seminars led by mental health professionals to provide insights into stress management, coping strategies, and fostering resilience.
Promoting suicide prevention in the workplace is an ongoing effort that requires commitment from employers, employees and the organisation as a whole. By taking proactive steps to raise awareness, reduce stigma and provide adequate support, we can create a more mentally healthy and resilient workforce.
If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts or mental health issues, please don’t hesitate to seek help. Reach out to PAM Wellbeing, a mental health professional, your GP, a colleague or a trusted friend. Remember, you are not alone, and there is always help available.
How can PAM Wellbeing help?
Employee Assistance Programme (EAP): Round-the-clock access to professional counsellors, health, legal and financial experts. Including digital access to expert health and wellbeing resources and CBT training.
Critical Incident and Trauma Support Services: Traumatic events have the power to psychologically harm individuals. Our wide range of trauma support services enables organisations to provide expert care to individuals through proactive and reactive support.
Enhanced Psychological Services: Access to professional counsellors through management referrals, providing employees with proactive support to effectively manage their mental health challenges.
Training and Webinars: Enhance your manager’s and employee’s mental health awareness with our training services. Learn how to proactively manage work and life pressures with sessions tailored to prevent suicide, such as Suicide Awareness, Supporting Distressed and Suicidal People and Understanding Depression.