Suicidal thoughts are far more common than many people think, but 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 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, along 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 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. Therefore this guide should be read in conjunction with the CIPD and Mind’s people manager’s guide to mental health, to improve support for those experiencing stress and mental ill health issues.  

Please note that we are not providing occupational health (OH) 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

Useful definitions

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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