10 October 2019

Raising awareness of suicide prevention on World Mental Health Day

Today we are supporting World Mental Health Day, organised by the World Federation for Mental Health and observed by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Mental health is one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and this year’s theme is suicide and suicide prevention, with the aim of raising awareness of mental health issues and stripping back the stigma associated with a very avoidable tragedy.

Suicide is the leading cause of death among young people aged 20-34 in the UK and is the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year-olds globally. We want to join the world in reminding people that they are not alone. Support is in reach.

We recognise that there are a number of reasons, and often more than one, as to why someone may struggle with their mental health. Often, people cite work as a contributing factor. For many of us, work is a major part of our lives. It is where we spend much of our time and where we make our friends. So having a fulfilling job is central to mental health and general wellbeing

However, as an employer, we do appreciate the role ‘work’ can play in adding to the weight of feeling like things are getting on top of us – as so much in life depends on performance, money, commitments and expectation.

Many people speak of ‘work-life balance’, but achieving it isn’t always easy. James Fisher actively supports the UN’s SDGs and takes mental health in - and out of - the workplace very seriously. Our people are the pillars of our success, so we take care of them. 

We want to create workplaces where people can be themselves and feel comfortable enough to talk openly about any challenges they may be facing, because we hope our employees know they’re not facing them alone and we will overcome them together.

To support our employees and establish practices that feed good mental health in our daily lives, James Fisher has a number of initiatives in place.  These include:

Mental health first aiders –based across numerous sites, and externally trained by Mental Health England, who are on hand to provide immediate assistance to anyone who needs it.

Drop-in surgeries –providing an environment for employees to discuss (in private) absolutely anything that is on their mind.

Employee wellbeing champions –providing key contacts for employees on wellbeing problems and initiatives.

A people development forum –with the aim of highlighting and addressing any employee-related matters.

Parental transitions support programme –offering new parents access to online tools and/or coaching to support combining work and parenthood, with the aim of achieving smooth transitions for the individual as they leave for parental leave, and as they return.

Stay interviews –held with long-serving employees to generate feedback and to understand why they have remained with the company, while also providing another opportunity to talk about any ways we could improve.

We also have a number of initiatives planned for 2020, including our own in-house campaigns, to continue to raise awareness and to give employees the opportunity and confidence to speak out and call for help. 

To learn more about mental health and suicide prevention in the workplace, visit the WHO’s resources here. Alternatively, view the video below.