Suicide has been a prevalent issue in the world. It has been incredibly detrimental to the world at large. We’ve lost wonderful human beings to suicide when it can be certainly prevented in the first place.
It is crucial to actively tackle this issue to minimize the consequences of the extreme measure. As a people leader, it is essential to ensure no one in your team contemplates suicide, suffers alone, and wants to end their life to end the misery they’re going through.
You need the training and trained people to be fully equipped to help someone in distress when you spot signs leading to suicidality. Hence, it is crucial to have trained suicide prevention gatekeepers at your workplace.
Who are they, and why are suicide prevention gatekeepers important? Let’s discuss this in detail.
Power of emotional first-aid when offered by peers
Emotional turmoil can be extremely painful, similar to physical ones, yet they are rarely spoken of. Employees contemplating suicide are extremely vulnerable, and their unbearable misery and agony can convince them to end their lives. This makes it of utmost importance to deliver the psychological aid needed immediately, especially to individuals contemplating suicide.
Peers and colleagues are often the best people to offer this emotional first-aid to those in distress. They have high relatability, are proximate to distressed individuals and can offer appropriate emotional support.
When the people they interact with the most offer emotional first-aid, the distressed individuals feel safe, foster trust and they might open up without feeling judged.
Additionally, peers also tend to be around the distressed employee for long hours, which not only destigmatizes mental health discussions in the workplace, but it allows them to pick up on subtle signals and are easily accessible to the individual for a quick chat.
Why does your workplace need gatekeepers as a measure of suicide prevention?
Suicide prevention gatekeepers are individuals of any background, over the age of 16, and willing to learn the steps they need to take to save lives. They don’t have to be mental health professionals, HR professionals, or people of authority, first responders.
Hence, all employees are eligible in your workplace to undergo this program to become trained suicide prevention gatekeepers. It only takes the intention to make a difference in other’s lives.
Sometimes it is difficult for employers to check in with their employees daily. It may go unnoticed when someone is going through a challenging time.
However, with suicide prevention gatekeepers, you can be assured someone is on the lookout in your workplace for at-risk individuals. This can save the employee’s life, and the impact of losing a loved one on their family, friends, and colleagues.
Identifying Signs of Potential At-Risk Employees
Oftentimes it is difficult for the common person to identify signs of a person in distress, without undergoing special training. Gatekeepers are individuals who are trained to detect these direct and subtle warning signs of suicidal tendencies.
They can pick up on cues while having daily interactions with a person who is contemplating. Identifying these subtle signs is important as this allows for timely intervention preventing the crisis from escalating.
Provide comfort to distressed individuals
Gatekeepers are also trained to provide comfort and consolation to the distressed employees. This is crucial as it works as a cooling agent to any emotional injury that the individual experiences.
It is important to be empathetic during this time and to offer support. A study has shown that around 36% of final suicide attempts tend to be a decision taken less than 5 minutes earlier. Hence, not only can gatekeepers identify the crisis, but they can also offer last-mile support and comfort individuals on the brink of suicide.
Refer them to therapists, ensure they are connected to their loved ones and are taken care of
While gatekeepers can ensure immediate relief, long-term improvement of the at-risk individual typically requires a combined effort from the individual’s loved ones, suicide prevention gatekeepers, and a therapist.
Workplace gatekeepers can recommend therapists to the suicide-ideating individual. Having a therapist can also help them deal with problems they struggle to handle. Additionally, they ensure these individuals have loved ones they regularly connect and interact with.
How can you train your people in suicide prevention gatekeeping?
While you may decide to have a workplace suicide prevention gatekeeper, you may have trouble finding a gatekeeping training program suited for your workforce.
Manah offers one of the best suicide prevention gatekeeping programs in association with the QPR Institute. They ensure that anyone who signs up for the program becomes fully equipped to handle crises and comfort at-risk individuals around them.