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Sensitive content warning: This article discusses suicide.
How can we address mental health stigma in the workplace and beyond? What signs should we watch out for to identify suicidal ideation in colleagues, friends, and loved ones?
To answer these questions and more, Spring Health recently hosted a webinar on suicide prevention, in honor of National Suicide Prevention Week. Our expert speaker — Dr. Millard Brown, Spring Health's senior vice president of medical affairs — shared his insights on how we can effectively promote suicide prevention.
Below are some of the key takeaways from the session.
Leaders and managers play a pivotal role in preventing suicides
Organizational culture can strongly affect the mental health of employees — including employees' willingness to seek help when they need it. To foster a supportive environment, leaders and managers can and should speak up for employee mental wellbeing and care for those in need.
Manager training around these issues can be especially helpful to this end. Managers can be trained on how best to support employees in active distress — including looking seek the “why” behind an employee’s decreased performance to address any relevant mental health concerns.
Of course, workplace policies around mental health concerns also need to be addressed to reduce stigma and any barriers to mental healthcare. Leaders and managers can review policies to ensure they provide adequate personal leave options and mental health benefits for employees.
Every employee can be trained in suicide prevention best practices
Leaders and managers aren't the only people in the workplace who play a role in suicide prevention. By promoting mental health literacy, organizations can empower each member of the team to support each other and themselves.
As a first step, ensure that employees understand the types of self-help services, wellness screenings, and confidentiality of care available
to them, whether through the organization or external resources. In addition, provide general tools on how to help others with mental health distress or suicidal thoughts.
The ACE model has been proven to be effective at preventing suicides
Ask. Care. Escort. The steps are simple, but taking these simple actions can save a life. To help someone who is considering suicide, experts recommend following this three-step process:
Ask. In a manner that communicates concern, ask the individual if they are considering harming themselves. This can often be the hardest step, but it is important to talk about any concerns openly.
Care. First, listen carefully to what the individual has to say. It is important to show that you care about what they are saying and are not passing judgement.
Escort. Encourage the individual to seek care, and explain that there are trained professionals and resources available that can help them.
About Spring Health
Spring Health offers employers a comprehensive solution for their teams' mental wellbeing. Our proprietary assessment leverages AI to create a personalized care plan for each patient, with solutions ranging from digital exercises to coaching, therapy, or medication. This approach, known as Precision Mental Healthcare, ensures each patient receives the right care from the start, and is proven to accelerate recovery. Learn more about Spring Health and request a demo to find out what we can do for your team.