Technical and Strategic Suicide Prevention in the Workplace

Our Technical and Strategic Suicide Prevention for the Workplace program is a multilayered service where you can select strategies of a depth and intensity to meet your needs. Each workplace varies enormously, so ‘off the shelf’ type solutions although simple, may only meet half your needs, or act as a temporary solution when a more technical approach is indicated. Our goal therefore, is to understand your needs, identify and explore options and implement those strategies you feel will be of maximum value.  

We only recommend those strategies that are necessary to the workplace, based on evidence-based suicide prevention principles and appropriate for your workforce, context and environment. Our Technical and Strategic program can consider:

  1. Health promotion initiatives 
  2. Disease prevention (where risk points are identified), and
  3. Crisis response and postvention

The Process

This suicide prevention process is guided by you and can be as intensive as needed, but may involve:

  • Appraising (or reappraising) the hazards and risks previously identified
  • Assessing your existing systems
  • Reviewing your injury and claim history, both those that were compensable and those that were not
  • Engaging your workforce through surveys, toolbox talks and discrete personal interviews. This is how we learn about problems ‘on the ground’ 
  • Undertaking an organisational culture audit 
  • Making recommendations based on our findings

Be assured that we review your workplace with sensitivity and deliberate care.

Resourcing

Your investment is consolidated with resourcing that is aligned with recommendations:

  • Face-to-face, on-line and mixed delivery training
  • Policy, procedures and practice/HR guidelines
  • ‘Living Risk’ document templates, and
  • Suicide Safety plans (in more than 12 languages)
  • Posters and workplace infographics
  • Referrals to Occupational Rehabilitation Providers, Employee Assistance Programs, Occupational Physicians and services we know to adopt best practice strategies and principles in identifying and responding to suicidality

Alternate providers that may be skilled in workplace mental health programs, but lack the necessary resources, tools and techniques that are specific to suicide prevention. We go beyond linking you with 24/7 help lines to ensure systemic barriers and difficulties are eliminated, or in the least navigated with support.

Help and Understanding Along the Way

Although not every workplace may require the intensive engagement of our services, the technical and strategic approach is also aligned with positive psychology principles which inherently support productivity, engagement and innovation. Policies, protocols, training and staff development programs, the workplace culture, personnel support systems and rehabilitation procedures are all areas of immense opportunity and growth, whereby suicide prevention is an intended outcome, in alignment with excellent workplace culture.

We’ll walk with you as you describe your vision, answering questions you have and co-designing solutions that fit your needs.

Business Investments

Australian evidence notes that workplaces with strong psychological safety and positive workforce engagement, enjoy considerable benefits:

  • Improved productivity and engagement
  • Increased return on investment through staff loyalty and retention
  • Fewer incidents of discrimination, industrial disputes and other types of action or litigation
  • Reduced lost time and presenteeism (being at work but not performing)

Engaging our services often occurs following a critical incident or death by suicide, often because it wasn’t acknowledged as necessary until tragedy has confronted the workforce While we can understand this situation, we also encourage organisations to become proactive in suicide prevention, before there is a human cost. It feels crude and inappropriate to talk about the economic implications of failing to implement suicide prevention strategies, however, the below points evidence that it’s not only the right thing to do, it makes economic sense.

This is just a snapshot of what we know:

  • 903 workers die by suicide each year1
  • 2,303 workers attempted suicide resulting in total and permanent disability1
  • 11,242 workers attempted suicide or injured themselves causing absence from work1
  • The majority of suicide deaths occur during the height of an employee’s productivity2
  • Employees returning to work following a colleague’s suicide can experience a range of impacts, from sadness through to direct vicarious trauma3
  • Implementing a comprehensive suicide prevention strategy in some workforce’s may reduce suicide rates by up to 79%4
  • Every $1 invested in a suicide prevention initiative has $4.30 return5

There is a wealth of other evidence that underpins our engagement, approach and recommendations for the Technical and Strategic Suicide Prevention in the Workplace program. 

Aligning with us in this very important endeavour will benefit you. This is assured by our adherence to internationally recognised intervention principles, flexible adaptations to your workplace, and comprehensive, integrated and evidence-based approach.

 

References

1 – Kinchin, I & Doran, C. (2017). The econdonomic cost of suicide and non-fatal suicdial behaviour in the australian workforce and the potential impact of a workplace suicide prevention strategy, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 14, doi:10.3390/ijerph14040347

2 – Germain, M-L. (2014). Work-related suicide: An analysis of US government reports and recommendations for human resources, Employee Relations, 36(2), 148-164

3 – ConNetica (2016). Suicide in Australia: Key facts, cited 12 May 2017 https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5858b2276b8f5be324ffefff/t/5898ff2f15d5dba05f6c9c9d/1486421825261/media_backgrounder_-_suicide-suicide_prevention_australia_may_24_final.pdf

4 – Tiesman, H., Donda, S., Hartley, D, Menendez, C., Ridenour, M & Hendricks, S. (2015). Suicide in U.S. Workplaces, 2003-2010: A comparison with non-workplace suicides, American Journal of Preventative Medicine, 48(6), 674-682

5 – Doran, C., Ling, R., Gullestrup, J., Swannell, S. & Milner, A. (2016). The impact of a suicide prevention strategy on reducing the economic cost of suicide in the New South Wales Construction Industry. Crisis, 37(2), 121-129 (based on Mates in Construction economic analysis)

 

Suicide prevention in your small business or workplace is achievable and worthy of investment.

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