One of the greatest challenges for individuals struggling with mental health is the associated stigma which prevents them from reaching out to get treatment. Businesses have a responsibility to ensure the correct language and terminology is used, as well as ensuring mental health is embedded at the core of its company values, providing frequent, informative, and supportive internal communications for employees to learn about mental health conditions and voice concerns about their own mental health - with a zero-tolerance policy to workplace bullying and / or harassment.
Installing R;pple is a simple yet life-saving tactic to start combatting mental health and suicide in the workplace; the smart software is installed as a browser extension on laptops and desktops or integrated into Wi-Fi networks and “intercepts” harmful searches relating to suicide or self-harm, by instead providing resources for people to seek free, accessible 24/7 mental health support. Since its launch on World Suicide Prevention Day (10th September) 2021, R;pple has had over 850,000 downloads and intercepted over 3,400 suicide-related searches - saving at least 24 lives from suicide.
Isolation in the workplace is known to contribute to mental health issues, and its important employees are able to talk to one another; businesses should allow socialising during office hours, and arrange social events outside of office hours to ensure teams are bonding and engaging with one another - particularly with a lot of us now working from home.
Financial struggles are often linked to mental health issues, with 30% of employees citing financial wellbeing as a cause of stress outside of work (ref The Workplace Health Report by Champion Health), and businesses should do everything they can to support their staff in these instances; providing free financial counselling is a simple but effective way or by going one step further by providing financial support for workers experiencing financial hardship - such as with the current cost-of-living crisis.
One of the most important (and obvious) steps to preventing suicide in the workplace is to recognise it - and know the signs to look out for when someone is struggling; businesses should set-up annual training exercises with staff, such as a course with Mental Health First Aid England (MHFA), to show them how to identify and intervene with a colleague in this
situation, to ensure vulnerable employees get the help and support they need.
Download a Mental Health and Suicide Prevention pack of resources here.
Work can be stressful, however employers need to ensure that workloads are realistic and achievable, and that employees aren’t taking that stress home with them; flexible working hours, meeting-free time and regular check-ins are a good way of doing this; moreover, employers should support staff suffering a mental health crisis with access to paid leave using supportive policies, to ensure they’re able to take the time and get the help they need