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.