3 ways to educate your employees about suicide prevention

3 ways to educate your employees about suicide prevention


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However bad you thought Utah's mental health crisis was before the pandemic, rest assured — it's only gotten worse.

Not surprisingly, the first few months of the pandemic depressed Americans. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 40% of U.S. adults struggled with mental health or substance abuse. 11% seriously considered suicide.

Given that people spend roughly one-third of their lives in the workplace, this makes it especially important for employers to take an active role in promoting mental fitness and suicide prevention.

Workforce Resilience through Mental Fitness is a campaign from the Salt Lake Chamber's nonprofit social impact foundation: Utah Community Builders. This campaign provides Utah business leaders with information, tools, and resources to improve the "mental fitness" of their employees.

"Far too many Utahns have endured the heartbreak of losing a loved one to suicide," said Derek Miller, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber and Downtown Alliance. "The ray of hope is that suicide is preventable, and by implementing some simple yet important steps today, Utah's business leaders can elevate the mental and emotional wellness of our workforce."

To create a culture of mental fitness and to increase workforce resilience, here are a few things that may help.

Get the Suicide Prevention in the Workforce Employer Toolkit

When you're dealing with something as serious as suicide prevention, it helps to have the right tools. As part of the Workforce Resilience Through Mental Fitness initiative, Utah Community Builders created an employer toolkit on suicide prevention. This toolkit provides businesses with information and tools to assess and improve the mental and emotional wellness of their employees.

The toolkit includes five sections:

  • Pre-Action Planning. Learn to assess, consider, and implement new mental health and suicide prevention strategies in the workplace.
  • Upstream Strategies. This will help you find ways to prevent mental health issues in the first place.
  • Midstream Strategies. Identify employees who are experiencing higher levels of stress or who are in the early stages of a mental health or substance abuse problem.
  • Downstream Strategies. Learn how to respond in a safe and effective way if and when mental health or suicide crises occur.
  • Getting Started. This section builds upon the previous sections and highlights what you can do to get started on addressing mental health at work.

"This toolkit is a starting place to help our colleagues, coworkers, employees, and their families who are battling mental challenges," said Clark Ivory, co-chair of the Utah Community Builders Advisory Board and CEO of Ivory Homes. "It is critical that we remove the stigma around these conversations. We must all recognize the need to work on mental fitness and help others in their journey."

To access the toolkit in English and Spanish, visit the Workforce Resilience Through Mental Fitness webpage.

Learn from the experts

As a CEO, you may wonder how you can improve your company's mental fitness culture. Or perhaps you need more guidance on implementing mental health initiatives. If you want to hear some expert advice, tune into Utah Community Builders' webinars that cover these topics and more.

You can also earn from other companies' experiences and gain actionable insights as you review past webinars on the Salt Lake Chamber's YouTube channel.

Take advantage of free and discounted services through the Salt Lake Chamber

While workforce education and suicide prevention are critical, it's also important to remember that there's only so much you can do as an employer. Sometimes professional, individualized help from mental health experts is best. That's why Utah Community Builders and the Salt Lake Chamber have partnered with a few organizations to provide free or discounted resources exclusive to Chamber members as part of the Workforce Resilience through Mental Fitness campaign.

Some of these services include manager training, consulting, teletherapy, counseling, and Employee Assistance Programs. You can find the full list of resources on the Workforce Resilience and Mental Fitness webpage.

Help improve workforce education on suicide prevention

Improving mental health is an ongoing battle. With tools and strategies continuously evolving, the Salt Lake Chamber wants your feedback. You can help them improve the efficacy of these tools by telling them about what you're doing in your business. After you've checked out all of the resources listed above, take this short survey to share what's working for you. Sharing your feedback and experiences can go a long way toward helping the business community improve mental health and suicide prevention in the workforce.

To learn more about increasing workforce resilience, visit the Salt Lake Chamber's website.

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