As part of his ongoing campaign for better mental health provision in the workplace, Dean Russell MP has teamed up with the Baton of Hope to raise awareness around suicide prevention.
Sadly, 115 people die by suicide in the UK every week, with 1 in 5 having suicidal thoughts. Tragically it is one of the nation’s biggest killers; in fact it is THE biggest killer of young adults in the UK.
The causes of suicide are usually complex, but they are often linked to stresses in the workplace.
Therefore, employers are being urged to sign-up to a new charter pledging greater support for people who feel suicidal. The initiative was launched today at a special event in the House of Commons, sponsored by Dean Russell MP. It has been welcomed by business leaders, clinical experts and politicians.
In Watford, Dean has been working closely with the Watford & West Herts Chamber of Commerce to train 1,000 volunteers in Mental Health First Aid Awareness to create a wellbeing town that encourages more conversations about mental health. This works alongside the Government’s investment of £1.14 million across Hertfordshire, with Watford General Hospital receiving £350,000, as part of the £150 million national package of investment. The funding will provide 150 new safe and supportive spaces and 100 new specialist mental health ambulances, to act as an alternative to A&E.
The President of the International Association for Suicide Prevention Prof. Rory O’Connor said: “Employers have a crucial role to play in suicide prevention. I commend this charter encouraging employers to approach this crisis with all the attention it deserves.”
The Baton Of Hope, a new charity co-founded by bereaved parents, believes that too few employers have frameworks that nurture a climate of openness where people can talk about emotional pain and find ways to seek help. Most managers and employees have never received education or training to deal with a situation where someone discloses suicidal feelings or when staff are faced with them suicide of a loved one or colleague.
The new guide aims to address that gap by providing practical advice and guidance for organisations wishing to educate their workforce and establish a healthy culture where suicidal thoughts can be shared without stigma.
Co-founder of Baton Of Hope, former tv journalist Mike McCarthy, said: “We believe the charter should be embedded as part of an employer’s wider approach to promoting good mental health.
By creating a non-stigmatising culture and a safe space to talk, employers can play a vitally important role in suicide prevention and signposting people to the right professional support.”
Dean Russell, MP for Watford, commented, “The workplace plays a crucial part in our mental health and there is a clear need for guidance on how organisations can better support their greatest asset, their people. As I have said before, if suicide were a virus we’d be on the hunt for a vaccine and if loneliness were a disease we would be trying to find a cure. We can achieve this by working together. That’s why I fully support the Baton of Hope in their mission to empower businesses, leaders and employees with cultures that promote openness and a sense of safety to talk about mental health and suicide.”
Organisations will be invited to formally sign-up to the Workplace Charter in Autumn 2023
MPs will join a Workplace Charter preview event in the House Of Commons on Wednesday 24th May at 1 pm.
The event is being sponsored by Watford MP Dean Russell and will be attended by business leaders, suicide prevention experts and Human Resources specialists.
The Charter was put together over several months by a committee brought together by the Baton Of Hope charity.
For more detail please contact Baton Of Hope Co-founder Mike McCarthy at firstname.lastname@example.org.