World Suicide Prevention Day this year falls against a background of the highest level of male suicides in two decades, and the highest rate of female suicides since 2004 (ONS figures). Men working in construction have the highest rate of suicide of any industry in the UK.
Against this backdrop leading national engineering specialist SES Engineering Services (SES), has launched a campaign to encourage colleagues to ‘take a minute’ – time to talk to someone to get help, to not mask how they feel, to notice a friend or colleague who is struggling or to simply start a conversation.
SES has also been working with the suicide prevention charity PAPYRUS to help break down the stigma of talking about mental health, and to help reduce the high levels of suicides in construction.
According to ONS figures, male construction workers are three times more likely to die by suicide than the rest of the population and SES is using World Suicide Prevention Day as a call to action, to encourage colleagues to help create ‘suicide safer communities’, where they can talk openly and less secretively about suicide.
The campaign is supported by a short video and series of posters, aimed particularly at colleagues working in largely male environments where the stigma of discussing mental health can be hard to overcome. In addition, a webinar, open to all employees, and hosted together with PAPYRUS, will feature a panel of colleagues including those whose lives have been directly affected by suicide. The panellists will share their experiences and discuss ways of creating safer communities where colleagues can more easily talk about their mental health.
John Dunne, Group Safety, Health, Environment & Quality Director said suicide prevention was a key focus of the Group’s wellbeing activities and its goal to achieve zero harm:
“To know that in our industry, so many people are struggling, to the extent that they feel their only option is to end their life, is simply tragic. We have a moral duty to look out for one another, but we also have to focus on making our workplaces and working practices the best they can be, which includes driving a culture whereby everyone feels safe to open up and able to ask for help.”
Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. Steve Joyce, Managing Director, SES shares his thoughts on how we can all make a difference in supporting our colleagues by having open and honest conversations around mental health at work, creating a healthier and more supported workforce. Read his blog here.