There is a lot to live for. To live, exist, survive, see the world, and explore- the need to live is never-ending. But in recent times, people often find themselves under a lot of pressure in terms of personal and professional life.
The intensity of stress reaches its extreme limit, and many of us cannot take it anymore. In times like this, people tend to make life-threatening decisions like attempting suicide.
However, attempting suicide does not imply completing it. Some people go forward with the act and are thankfully saved in one way or the other. Suicidal thoughts can occur in any individual regardless of gender, age, or economic background.
Suicide is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. According to the suicide data by World Health Organization, over 700,000 people die by suicide every year, and the figures are shocking. Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the situation has gotten worse.
With lockdown and quarantine culture being the new normal, mental health challenges are sighted too often. Employees are frustrated while being holed up in their homes. Stress and anxiety build-up and these should not be taken lightly.
Thus, here enters the emergence of a day to prevent suicidal tendencies known as World Suicide Prevention Day.
When is World Suicide Prevention Day?
On 10th September every year, World Suicide Prevention Day is celebrated globally, with the main agenda being the prevention of suicides through commitment and proper action. The suicide numbers seem to grow each year, and it is nothing less than a shocker considering it is very much preventable.
Men commit suicide more but women are more certainly to attempt it.
History of World Suicide Prevention Day
With the busy lifestyles these days, we do not even have time for ourselves. Stress and anxiety are all we have as our constant companions. Taking some time out and processing our thoughts are things I am sure most of us have forgotten about.
This is one of the prime reasons behind the deteriorating mental health of many. Because if we do not resolve the issues amongst ourselves, these are going to stay unattended. Thus, it gives rise to unassessed problems.
World Suicide Prevention Day was first introduced by International Association for Suicide Prevention in 2003. World Federation for Mental Health and World Health Organization are co-sponsors of this day.
Suicide occurs mostly commonly among people between the ages of 45 and 64.
The primary goal of this day is manifold.
- Doing research and collecting information on suicidal behavior
- Ruling out the causes of suicide
- Creating effective practices and policies for prevention
Why is World Suicide Prevention Day important?
This question doesn't even need asking because we all know the why.
In the US, someone kills themselves in every 12 minutes.
1. Every Life is Important
Life is valuable and definitely not to be wasted by attempting to die. We all must have strength enough to keep us going. Sure there will be ups and downs, but suicide is never the solution.
So celebrating World Suicide Prevention Day conveys the main goal of living and taking the struggle head-on as they come along. Every employer should thus commemorate this day by showing support to the distressed employees and preparing them for whatever life throws at them.
The fact that suicide has an enormous impact on the people surrounding the victim implies how prevention is imperative.
2. Awareness Leads to Action
When you observe Suicide Prevention Day, you raise awareness on the same. The more people are aware of rapid suicide rates, warning signs, and prevention, the better. If your employees have enough information, they can detect signals and, in fact, help others in times of need.
If one of your employees is not in the right state of mind, his fellow mates should be able to lend support and help him recover only if they could get the signs. And this is possible if your entire workforce is aware of mental health strain.
Thus, shining a spotlight on mental health disorders will assist in finding the help a mentally disturbed person seeks.
3. Sound Mental Health Leads to Productivity
Observe World Suicide Prevention Day by hosting programs and seminars on the same topic. These programs will cause employees to focus on their mental state and maintain a balanced state of mind.
And stable mental health is essential for producing good results. If our mental health is gone for a toss, every aspect of our life is hindered. So, once your workforce pays attention to their health and receives adequate help, they will become more efficient, delivering productive outcomes.
None of us can be certain about what can trigger a person to even consider suicide an option. But there can be multiple grounds, such as workplace culture, work pressure, vulnerabilities, social surroundings, and many others.
Job-related stressors include-
- Unclear information about the job role
- Role conflict
- Unbearable pressure in terms of demands
- Repetitive and monotonous assigned work
- Authoritarian management
- Conflict with co-workers
These are some of the key indicators which might overwhelm an employee. So you as an employer have to be mindful enough while allotting tasks to employees. Mainly with Covid-19, you need to be more patient and act as a support system to your workforce.
Companies must know every employee’s situation and then act accordingly.
How to Celebrate World Suicide Prevention Day in the Workplace?
Discussions on suicide are often avoided and not considered important enough. But very little do we know that talking about suicides leads to coming up with prevention ideas. And World Suicide Prevention Day does exactly that.
Focusing on suicide conversation and its recovery, this day combines seminars, workshops, awareness campaigns, education, support groups, and many more.
We all know how employers these days are highly concerned about their employees’ health and wellbeing. So, it is right to believe that they would leave no stone unturned to ensure that their employees are mentally and physically sound.
Heavy work pressure can often become burdensome and result in unbearable conditions. And corporates very well know that.
Therefore, to prevent your workforce from taking any dangerous step like suicide for whatsoever reason, you can resort to celebrate World Suicide Prevention Day at work.
Here are few ways how you can do that-
1. Hold Workshops/Seminars
What better day than World Suicide Prevention Day to arrange workshops and seminars to speak about suicides, how frequent the rates are, and what can be done to prevent them? Make the workshops mandatory for all your employees to attend.
Also, you can just invite an experienced speaker to talk on the same. A speaker would be the best person as they can orate real-life experiences of what drives people to attempt suicide.
Further they can tell how along with the victim, family and friends are affected by suicide on the same level. Additionally, they can also put stress on the topic of various forms of action to prevent suicides.
2. Raise Awareness
Spreading awareness of suicide prevention is a necessity for the numbers to reduce.
Seeing the suicide rates skyrocket now more than ever, awareness has never been a more pressing matter. Awareness campaigns can be run in the form of walkathon events or marathons on the same day.
You can engage your entire workforce through compulsory participation. Also, promote suicide prevention day on social media handles to reach out to a bigger section of the population.
Because of the public events held on the concerned day, people apart from your employees would also get insights and might even be curious to know more about World Suicide Prevention Day.
3. Share Facts
All of us are quite familiar with the term suicide. But how much do we even know about the statistics, trends along with the numerous prevention activities? Very few of us.
In such a case, expanding the knowledge spectrum on the topic can prove to be very beneficial. As an employer looking to comfort your stressed employees is one vital factor.
Sharing important facts about suicide and how they can be dealt with would develop a certain sense of strength and conscience among your employees. They would know all the adverse effects of suicide and how it can be avoided.
4. Form New Policies
More effective measures should be taken by companies to address mental health issues at work. And there is no better day than Suicide Prevention Day itself to formulate policies capable enough to keep employees’ mental health in check. Encourage peer communication, a feeling of connectedness, and respect.
5. Arrange a Counseling Cell
Arrange a counseling cell for your employees. Hiring a well-equipped counselor plays an important role in offering comfort and solutions to employees struggling with mental issues. There can be various reasons for degrading mental health, ranging from work to social life.
Also, introverted employees might have difficulty opening their hearts out in public. In such circumstances, having a counselor comes in handy. For then, the staff would be able to express their frustrations without fearing being judged.
So if an employee is going through a tough time, the counselor can help them fight it instead of just asking them to be strong.
6. Hold Open Discussions
Suicidal thoughts are likely to appear in the minds of employees at times. Especially with workplace stress, the feeling of anxiety and depression is obvious.
So, just make the work environment pleasant enough for your workforce to express their thoughts to you and their colleagues. Hold open discussions on mental health and ask your employees to come forward and share their experiences and current mental setup.
In return, you need to be spontaneous and vulnerable with them. Offer them support in their struggle and show them ways to get rid of suicidal tendencies.
Create a level of trust in your employees for them to have heart-to-heart conversations with you. This would provide them with a sense of relief and improve the employer-employee relationship.
7. Look for Resources
Knowledge is power, but the fact that it can save a person’s life is a cherry on the cake. Celebrate World Suicide Prevention Day through book-reading sessions or, better, show them an inspirational movie on the subject.
These resources will point them in the right direction.
8. Implement Wellness Programs
Have you ever implemented corporate wellness programs concerning mental health? This is a critical question as corporates focus primarily on physical fitness. Mental health is not taken into account most of the time.
So if your wellness program does not have room for mental issues, revamp the program and relaunch it. This would remove the fear of societal judgment and encourage your employees to open up.
Listen to people without judgement.
The idea of suicide does not just come out of nowhere. Individuals often keep their distress within themselves instead of asking for support. This is why identifying those warning signs is important.
And once we are able to identify the initial signs, prevention is just one step away.
Now let us talk about the warning signs as highlighted by WHO-
- Employees often keeping to themselves
- Talking about loneliness and isolation
- Low self-esteem with considering themselves a failure and useless
- Feeling they lack support
- Restless and impulsive
- Cannot relate to friends and colleagues
However, it might get difficult for leaders to understand these warning signs if employees work from home. Faced with such a situation, employers ought to go out of their way to check in with their team regularly and show that they care and are available for them.
If you sense a certain level of issue in the people around you, ask them if they are struggling with something. Asking and sharing provides relief.
Wrapping It Up
World Suicide Prevention Day is just a day, but the necessity to remove the stigma surrounding mental health remains constant. Asserting mental health as a workplace concern is the need of the hour.
Hesitation around the topic of mental health has led to flawed strategies, but ignorance is never the answer. Suicide is not a joke. And whatever be the cause, feeling of loneliness and hopelessness are always a part of it. As a result, organizations should address the difficult emotions of the workers and face the challenges coming with them.
So, at the end of the day, all you need to do is form a supportive, respectful and harmonious work environment and foster purpose, joy, and connection in the workplace.