Suicidal thoughts are far more common than many people think, and there can be extensive stigma in talking about suicide. This guide provides practical advice and guidance for how you, as a manager, can respond to suicide risk and promote good mental health.
You can make a real difference by helping to create a safe space to talk, and signposting someone who discloses suicidal thoughts to the right sort of professional support.
If a member of your team attempts, or dies by, suicide, you will have a key role to play, with HR, in supporting people in your team, ensuring effective communication and managing some of the practicalities. However, it is important that you don’t feel you have to shoulder the burden alone. The guidance provided here is designed to be used in conjunction with getting support from people professionals in your organisation (for example, HR and occupational health), where appropriate, and as part of a wider organisational approach to promoting good mental health.
An organisation’s response to suicide risk should be part of its wider approach to addressing mental health in your team. Therefore this guide should be read in conjunction with the CIPD and Mind’s people manager’s guide to mental health, jointly developed by the CIPD and mental health charity Mind to improve support for those experiencing stress and mental ill health issues.
Please note that we are not providing occupational health or legal advice, but rather practical guidance on how to best support people at times of difficulty.
Why is suicide a workplace issue?
Understanding suicide and spotting warning signs
Creating a supportive and positive culture for mental wellbeing
Responding to suicide risk
Support after suicide
If you need to provide signposting to a member of your team, consider the following
As already mentioned, it’s important to use appropriate language relating to sensitive subjects such as mental health and suicide. Samaritans point out that inappropriate use of language can perpetuate stigma or unhelpfully sensationalise or inadvertently romanticise a suicide death.
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