Someone considering (or attempting) suicide is nudged by feelings of overwhelming hopelessness or helplessness, lack of support or connection, immense pressure, or systemic oppression.
It is not an act of cowardice or lack of resilience, but a choice made to end suffering, or not being able to see a better path ahead. By building avenues to receive help and find resources proactively, we can work towards preventing suicide. One such measure is having a team of well-trained first responders to suicide, in your workplace.
Stick with us to explore how you can form your own first responder team.
Let’s understand suicide
Suicide is the symptom of a larger disease. Suicidal intent and ideation develop due to a variety of factors, namely, financial stress, workplace/ academic pressures, relationship issues, mental health problems, and family struggles.
Suicide is often the result of a contemplated decision as risk factors or the troubling situation continues or intensifies over time. Intention may be reflected in one’s moods and the thoughts they share, their social interactions as well as sleeping and eating patterns.
If you notice these changes and are concerned about someone, you may try to directly understand the emotional condition of the person and direct them toward help. You can read the What to Say comic series for someone dealing with suicide.
Non Suicidal Self-Inury (NSSI) or self-harm is often done to cope with severe mental distress and not necessarily with the intention of dying. One may also have passive suicidal thoughts but no intention of causing harm.
People who have been exposed to a suicide loss, have a history of suicide attempts, and are going through intense emotional agony are more likely to contemplate suicide. There are a lot of other risk factors that need to be evaluated by a mental health professional and get started with the appropriate treatment.
Manah’s renowned emotional health assessments assess various components of wellbeing of distressed individuals and notify you instantly.
Equipping Individuals and building adequate support systems
Any measure for suicide prevention needs to be carried out on several levels: across the managerial level, at the organizational level, and at the leadership level. Let’s explore the former and the latter.
Across the organization
Build a culture that upholds an individual’s wellbeing consistently. This means ensuring that employees are financially stable and rewarded, and there is encouragement of work boundaries and other incentives as well as creating an emotionally and physically safe work environment.
Ensure that mental health is prioritized year-round, for all members of the company. This means offering awareness programs, counseling services, and other initiatives that can build one’s coping mechanisms and bridge the gap in treatment services.
Peer-led systems can be empowering and highly effective within smaller groups. For those more interested in themes of mental health, explore programs like Manah’s Wellbeing Ambassadors, where employees who want to make a difference enroll, participate, and learn how to spot emotional distress, offer support and refer them to therapists for help.
For a detailed list of measures you can take organization-wide on an ongoing basis to prevent suicides, refer to this guidebook here.
Leadership is a critical component of suicide prevention and mental healthcare, as it sets the tone for everyone. Sensitization workshops for leaders and teammates alike are important to create an atmosphere of genuine understanding and embodied care.
Budget for and implement programs like psychological first Aid, and QPR Suicide Gatekeeping training, which trains willing individuals in emotional support systems to recognize and act towards supporting someone who may be contemplating suicide.
Having an expert-certified team of gatekeepers is one of the best ways to create a team of first responders for suicide prevention, who may be able to identify suicidal signs early on and support them emotionally until the individual seeks professional help.
You can also develop protocols for anyone going through severe mental distress that prioritizes the safety, anonymity, and care of the individual. Recognize that individuals usually need systemic support, so consider what you as an organization/ manager can provide.
It may be additional allowance, external mental health support through holistic wellbeing providers like Manah, a sabbatical, flexible working options, or a change of team or project.
How does Manah create first responders in workplaces?
Manah initially conducts emotional health assessments and determines employees who have high resilience and coping skills with low-risk factors. Those who volunteer to take up gatekeeping training, or Wellbeing Ambassadors training are trained in a 16-hour program with experiential learning, and tons of practical tips for them to handle any emotional crisis, stay strong, and comfort the distressed individual.
These Ambassadors and gatekeepers make a fantastic team of first responders. That’s why it’s essential to train your HR team and leadership in these skills so that they can lead the mission to support all employees in distress.
With ongoing support, expert help and access to a community of mental health professionals, your organization, and your first responders are frequently checked-in on and ensured their psychological safety is intact.
With dashboards in place, Manah also reports trends of emotional wellbeing, anonymously, so you know, as an organization how your people feel currently, and what measures you can take.
How can Manah step in?
Suicide prevention must be looked at from a proactive lens. This means continuous education and access to helpful wellbeing resources along with consistent follow-ups on implemented processes. Manah can help you throughout your employee wellbeing journey through:
- Trauma-informed counseling for all
- Regular emotional health assessments and 1:1 check-ins
- 24/7 helpline for any crisis support
- Suicide prevention gatekeeping training program
- Focused interventions for overall emotional wellbeing
- Continuous wellbeing education to employees in the form of digital engagement
Take the first step towards creating a psychologically safe and suicide-free workplace. Contact us now and get started.