‘There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they’re falling in.’ Desmond Tutu
There were 5691 deaths by suicide in 2019 alone, and the rate is rising. We must address this problem and in a multitude of ways, not least by increasing mental health provision, destigmatizing mental health problems and creating opportunities for people to talk and connect in a safe environment.
Events such as World Mental Health Day are key to raising awareness and educating people about the impact but how do we avoid workplace ‘tokenism’ when minimal changes are made to the day to day running of the workplace?
I had an interesting discussion about this very thing with a member of Illuminate’s Wellbeing Presenter Programme this morning, and the ways in which workplaces can create a culture of safety, openness and honesty, with a focus on maintaining the daily mental wellbeing of their staff – being proactive instead of firefighting when a mental health problem has developed.
A few key practises came up: -
The focus must be to continuously learn from where others have gone wrong. What can we do now and do consistently? What can we put in place early on to prevent further tragedy? How can we provide early interventions to stop these individuals ‘falling in the river’ so we aren’t having to ‘pull them out of the river’ further downstream?
Illuminate are delivering talks to businesses about all these kinds of things and more in a supportive and nurturing way, in order to address the stigma and make talking about mental health comfortable and safe so more people feel able to share and get help early on.
Please check out the website www.illuminatecharity.org.uk for further information, and play your part in becoming the solution.
By Susie Peters