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World Mental Health Day 2019

Unfortunately, World Mental Health Day links so well with the stresses and strains of the workplace. The theme for 2019 is suicide prevention, which is a subject we want to avoid.

There can be few more tragic issues than a company representative having to deal with than the suicide of a fellow employee. Fortunately, this is something that most of us will never encounter, but the issue of suicide is an important one and can often be linked to issues such as workplace stress, bullying or harassment.

According to the WHO, more than 800,000 people die by suicide a year, making it the principal cause of death among people fifteen to twenty-nine years old. Every year between 5,500 and 6,000 people in Britain end their own lives – well over three times the number of people who die on our roads. Further, in 2017, the government released figures that showed that there was a strong link between suicide and occupation. Low skilled male labourers are three times more likely to take their own lives than the national average.

Employers have a legal duty to provide a safe working environment for their workers. This means that employers must address any issues that may cause a worker to have suicidal thoughts, including workload, stress, bullying etc. HR, along with senior management, has a big part to play in addressing this. Often just getting people to talk will be step in the right direction.

Suicide is a subject that tends to be taboo and about which many hold mistaken and prejudiced ideas. Talking about the issues will help the individual to learn about the risk factors, take professional advice and begin to make a definite route out of a challenging and troubling situation.

Coppice HR most definitely does not know the answers to many questions that arise from the subject and strongly recommends professional support. However, we can look at what actions can be taken to reduce workplace stress, bullying and harassment in the workplace. Contact us on paul@coppicehr.com or 07814 008478.

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