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.

More on this topic

Guides
Carer-friendly workplaces: Guide for people professionals

Practical guidance to help employers create a carer-friendly workplace

CIPD Viewpoint
Employee health and wellbeing

Explore the CIPD’s point of view on health and wellbeing at work, including recommendations for employers

Employment law
Stress and wellbeing: UK employment law

CIPD's resource on employers' legal obligations to reduce work-related stress and increase employee wellbeing. This resource includes legislation and case law, demonstrating how this issue is seen in the courts.

For Members
Guides
Supporting the Mental Health at Work Commitment

Find out more about the Mental Health at Work Commitment and the CIPD content that will help you to meet the standards

Latest guides

Guides
Carer-friendly workplaces: Guide for people professionals

Practical guidance to help employers create a carer-friendly workplace

Guides
Flexible working: Guidance for people professionals on planning and managing

This guide has been developed for people professionals who want to maximise the benefits of flexible working within their organisations, incorporating flexibility into people plans, strategy, and their employee value proposition.

Guides
How to request flexible working

A guide for employees to develop a strong business case for submitting a flexible working request

Guides
How to manage flexible working requests

A guide for employers and line managers to navigate the expected upsurge in flexible working requests

All guides