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Let's talk about suicide

Suicide has a devastating impact on families, friends, communities and work colleagues.  It is well-documented that those bereaved by suicide are at increased risk of emotional and mental health problems, so receiving the right support is essential.

According to Public Health England, in 2016 alone, 4575 people died by suicide. Depending on the situation of the individual, estimates vary on how many people are affected by each suicide. A recent study showed that this could be as high as 135 people exposed.

Taking a conservative estimate of ten people directly affected, this gives a minimum total of almost 50,000 people annually. That's potentially 50,000 people in need of some support - whether it's having someone to talk to, taking a break from work, or simply needing a way to mentally process what has happened, with support to do so.

Given most adults spend a third of their lives in work, death by suicide can have a profound effect on colleagues of the person involved, as they will have spent a significant amount of time with them. Employers need to be able to respond by providing support to their employees to help them come to terms with their loss.

Of course, prevention is always key and requires a multi-faceted approach, with input from a wide range of stakeholders. Raising awareness about mental health literacy, spotting signs and developing listening skills is crucial to those in need being able to seek support before it becomes too late.

There are many resources providing guidance, ideas and information on support for those bereaved by suicide in a workplace setting, as well as relating to suicide prevention, available on the Business Healthy website. These include prevention and post-vention toolkits developed by Business in the Community and Public Health England. Public Health England and the National Suicide Prevention Alliance have also produced "Help is at Hand" - a practical and sensitive guide for anyone affected by a suicide or a suspected suicide.

Over the past years, the City of London Corporation and Business Healthy have been hosting Samaritans' led suicide prevention awareness training sessions. There is always demand to run more of these well-received sessions, so if you are keen to find out more about the training, or would like to host a session, please get in touch - it would be good to talk.
Quote of the week: "Employees are more likely to talk to a colleague than a manager about an addition, so it is important to foster a culture where people can talk openly about their concerns. This helps challenge the stigma people can face. It's very powerful if an employer has a coherent and productive response to drug and alcohol use" - Karen Tyrell, Director of External Affairs - Addaction

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Next week is...
  • Men's Health Week 2018
The focus of this year's Men's Health Week is Diabetes (Men's Health Week coincides with Diabetes Week).

One in ten men in the UK have diabetes and the condition is on the rise. In addition, men are more likely to:
- develop diabetes and die from it
- experience complications from diabetes, including facing limb amputation

Men's Health Forum has developed a range of downloadable posters outlining the risks and encouraging people - particularly men - to talk about diabetes, its risk factors and implications. Access them here.
  • Carers' Week
According to Carers UK, one in nine employees will be a carer, given that there are currently 6.5 million carers in the UK, with more than 3 million still in paid work. It can be a struggle to balance caring responsibilities with work; caring for a relative or friend can be physically and emotionally demanding and can lead to carers feeling unsupported, isolated and alone.

NHS Employers has published guidance on supporting carers in the workplace, which offers practical advice on measures employers can take, including implementing a carers policy, flexible working, management support and general support for staff with caring responsibilities, and more. Access the guidance here.
  • World Blood Donor Day (Thursday 14 June)
Regularly donating blood saves lives and there are many opportunities to do so in the City.

NHS blood donation sites are available at the following City locations, making it easy for individuals to donate close to where they work:
- Barber-Surgeons' Hall, EC2Y 5BL
- St Olave Parish Hall, Fenchurch Street, EC3R 7NB
- St Albans Centre, Holborn, EC1N 7AB

For more information on locations and dates of Give Blood sessions, visit the website here.
  • Bike Week
Did you know that as a City employer you can access a wide range of free support to help promote cycling and upskill your workforce on safe cycling? This is offered through the City of London Corporation's Active City Network - an initiative bringing together City businesses to promote active travel through walking and cycling.

This also brings benefits to health and wellbeing, as well as local air quality. Through the Active City Network, City businesses can access services such as campaign materials, cycle skills training and bike safety and also events - in fact, the ACN is hosting a panel discussion, "Why do many people have a problem with cyclists, and what can be done about it?" on 13 June. Click here to find out how your organisation can get involved with the Active City Network.

Penny for your thoughts



As you may know, Dragon Cafe in the City has been running on a fortnightly basis since February. It is a pilot scheme and as part of the evaluation process, we are keen to hear from anyone who has visited the Cafe - even if it's just the once!

We will be holding a focus group during one of the Dragon Cafe in the City sessions taking place over the coming month, offering a £5 Amazon voucher for any participants (date and time to be confirmed).

If you are interested in sharing your thoughts as part of a focus group, or by providing a short written or video case study, please get in touch here.

Graze and Learn

To mark Health Information Week, The Wellness Movement is hosting a complimentary breakfast workshop on Thursday 7 June in the City of London for HR personnel and office managers, to learn how to look after the health of their employees.

Miss Nutritionist will deliver a talk covering the following areas:
  • How to stay energised Monday to Friday
  • How to cultivate a healthier workplace
  • How to manage stress
  • Healthy meal and snack ideas in the office
A healthy breakfast will also be provided, courtesy of Team Feedr.

Limited spaces available, book here.

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