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Tuesday, 19 September 2023 13:54

Mental Health & Employers

Last week, on World Suicide Prevention Day, the global community came together to shed light on a crucial issue that affects millions of lives worldwide. This year's theme underscored the significance of using appropriate language when discussing suicide – a small change in words, but huge advance in the fight against stigma that still exists around suicide. Addressing this issue is not just a moral imperative but a societal responsibility.

In the UK, suicide remains a significant public health concern. According to recent statistics, 6,800 people tragically lose their lives to suicide each year. What's even more concerning is the gender disparity – males in England are 2.9 times more likely to die by suicide than females. These numbers underscore the urgent need for greater awareness, understanding, and support for those in crisis

One of the key takeaways from last week’s World Suicide Prevention Day was the importance of using sensitive and respectful language when talking about suicide. Rather than saying someone "committed suicide," it is far more appropriate to say they "took their own life" or "died by suicide." Similarly, phrases like "failed suicide" or "suicide bid" should be replaced with "suicide attempt." Language plays a significant role in shaping public perception and attitudes towards suicide. By using appropriate terminology, we can reduce the stigma surrounding this complex issue.

World Suicide Prevention Day is a vital opportunity to challenge the stigma that continues to surround suicide. While some countries like Japan, France, and the United States formally recognise work-related suicide, the UK does not. Nevertheless, employers in the UK have a legal duty of care towards their employees, necessitating that they take all reasonable steps to ensure both physical and psychological safety.

One of the most effective ways to prevent suicide is through early recognition of signs and creating a supportive workplace environment. Employers can play a pivotal role in this effort:

Mental Health First Aiders: Having designated mental health first aiders in the workplace can be a lifeline for employees in distress. These trained individuals can provide immediate support, connect individuals with appropriate resources, and foster a compassionate atmosphere. Click here to take a look at our Mental Health First Aider courses to create a community of helpers within your workplace. 

Manager Training: Providing managers with training on how to recognise signs of mental distress and, more importantly, initiate empathetic conversations can be invaluable. Knowing what to say and how to respond can make a significant difference in an employee's well-being.

Promoting Appropriate Language: Encouraging the use of appropriate language related to suicide within the workplace is essential. This helps create an environment where individuals feel safe discussing their struggles without fear of judgment.

Open Culture: Fostering a culture of openness and psychological safety within the workplace is crucial. When employees feel comfortable discussing their mental health concerns, it can lead to early intervention and support. Book onto our upcoming seminar to understand how you can create a culture where these difficult conversations aren't so hard. 

In November 2023, the second reading of the Mental Health First Aider bill will take place. World Suicide Prevention Day serves as a stark reminder that there is much work to be done in addressing the issue of suicide. It has never been more pertinent to raise awareness of and support mental health in the the workplace. In the UK, where thousands of lives are lost each year, it's imperative that we embrace the power of appropriate language and prioritise mental health in our workplaces.

If you need any more support, give us a call on 01452 331331 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Read 581 times Last modified on Tuesday, 19 September 2023 14:51

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