Talking about and raising awareness of suicide has to be part of your 'employee wellbeing' strategy.
Yes, ideally you're only focusing on all the fun stuff like away days, sprucing up the office & having competitions to raise money for charities.
But you always need to have a contingency plan in place for when things don't go so well.
I ask you this - do you have mention to suicide in your policies?
So, if you have a workforce which has high levels of male workers aged 30 - 59 &/or females aged 45 - 59 you need to be extra vigilant in this area as both these age ranges have a statistically higher rate of successful suicide than other ages.
This is not to say that if you work with particularly young workers or older workers you are off the hook - you still need to talk about it. It still happens outside of these age ranges - just not quite as much...
What can you do?
There are some really simple things you can do to increase awareness of suicide.
You can have a list of contact numbers (e.g., Samaritans, local counselors, NHS crisis...) in the staff-room, in the toilets or in the handbook.
You can make sure you are talking about suicide as part of your employee engagement/wellbeing policy/strategy.
You could invite people in from local suicide organisations to talk about suicide.
Find out who in your local area is heading up the suicide prevention strategy & what you can do to help/be involved.
In all honesty, whatever you do please just make sure you do something.
It really is everybody's business.
The NHS, the local council, the local health boards... and all the other public/professional bodies which are dedicated to preventing suicide are unfortunately always the last to know.
We tend to find out when it's too late.
When that person who was in your office, was your family member, or was your friend has become another statistic.
When you start talking about it, you are so much more likely to be able to prevent anyone from taking their life than I ever can.
I only see the people who wan't to get better.
Again, I am sorry if this post has stirred up something you weren't quite prepared for & if this is the case you can call the Samaritans on 116 123 (freephone) or head over to their website www.samaritans.org and find out where your local office is if you wanted to speak to someone in person.
Best wishes, Katie.
Office of National Statistics (2016) Suicide Occurrences England and Wales. Retrieved on 03-03-2017 from, https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/datasets/suicideinenglandandwales
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