Organisations have a unique opportunity and significant role in supporting mental health. Find out more.
There are already so many different factors for a business owner to worry about. Are we achieving our targets? How shall we develop our teams? Is our bottom line being managed effectively? In this myriad of business problems, it is unlikely that suicide prevention would even occur to most of us.
The Samaritan’s Suicide Statistic Report estimated that more than 800,000 people end their lives every year. With statistics like that, and considering 47 years of our lives are spent at work, it is highly likely that there will be people struggling to cope in the workplace. This provides organisations with a unique opportunity and significant role in supporting mental health.
The stigma attached to mental health and suicide remains one of the biggest barriers to providing employees with the support they need. We should not fear talking about these issues in a workplace setting; rather, we need to encourage it.
Effective communication throughout all levels of your workforce is the best way to achieve this. By creating an environment in which employees can talk openly about how they feel, you show employees that your company culture is transparent and honest. By listening and being reactive to your employees’ needs, you also reduce the stigma surrounding asking for help with mental health.
Senior managers can show support by joining the conversation around mental health. Starting a conversation around mental health does not have to be difficult, and just asking more junior employees about how they are doing and how they are managing their workload shows you care about their mental wellbeing. More senior employees who feel comfortable, can also share their own experiences with their workforce. This can make it easier for more junior employees who may be struggling with talking about their own circumstances.
Employee assistance programmes are valuable schemes that are designed to give your employees support when they need it most. It provides employees with a telephone service and an online help system to assist staff with a wide range of issues such as bereavement, anxiety, family worries, employment problems and financial concerns.
All interaction within employee assistance programmes is completely confidential with caring support that encourages employees to talk through any problems they may have. Through employee assistance programmes, employers can also offer their structured counselling plans, which employees can arrange themselves confidentially, including face to face sessions.
Worries about money, physical health and relationships can be key triggers to affecting mental health. Providing extended services that support employees who may be worried about these triggers is essential in suicide prevention and mental health support.
A study by from the Royal College of Psychiatrists found that half of UK adults in problem debt are also living with mental health problems, ranging from feelings of anxiety and low moods to diagnosed mental health disorders. Financial wellbeing benefits which offer your employees financial education and access to affordable debt consolidation can seriously reduce financial stress, leading to less employees with mental health worries.
As well as this, research by the Department of Health highlights how physical activity can reduce someone’s risk of depression by up to 30%. Offering employee benefits such as discounted gym memberships provides your workforce with access to tools which not only support their physical health, but their mental health too. This intrinsic link between physical and mental health can also be managed through private medical insurance, cash plans and health screenings which all provide resources for employees and their physical health.
The loss of a colleague through suicide has a profound and lasting effect on any business. For this reason, it is recommended that employers of all sizes prioritise mental health and suicide prevention when designing their staff health and wellbeing plans.
What is good for health is also good for business, and when employees see their employer act on staff health and wellbeing, the business receives less presenteeism as less employees come to work ill, higher engagement and better productivity. To find out more, please contact us on 0330 333 9100.