Crisis Management In The Event Of A Suicide: A Postvention Toolkit For Employers

Suicide prevention should be an integral part of a positive and proactive approach to mental health at work. But no mental health policy can ever eliminate the risk of suicide. So it is of paramount importance to incorporate a suicide postvention protocol into a company’s crisis management strategy. This Suicide Postvention Toolkit is designed to support employers in their response to the suicide of an employee, at work or outside the workplace. It was produced in partnership with Public Health England and supported by Samaritans.

Actions to take in the immediate aftermath of a suspected suicide:

  • Convene postvention committee. Ensure that roles are understood and covered
  • Log details of fatality. Update as more information becomes available
  • Notify board and senior management
  • Make contact with family
  • Co-ordinate arrangements with emergency services (when death has taken place on site)
  • Issue statement to colleagues
  • Contact Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) provider (when available)
  • Make arrangements for counselling provision, including appropriate accommodation
  • Ensure support resources are available
  • Identify team members and colleagues who were closest to the deceased
  • Activate death in service arrangements
  • Approve time off for colleagues
  • Notify clients/supply chain where appropriate
  • Ensure line managers have appropriate support, both operationally and emotionally

In 2018, there were 6,507 suicides registered in the UK, three quarters of these were men1. Suicide is the single biggest killer of men aged under 45 in the UK2.

Death by suicide can have a profound effect on a business and its employees. Organisations need to be able to respond by providing support to their employees to help them come to terms with their loss while ensuring that the impact on your organisation and its day-to-day activities is contained. The role of the employer, and of the line manager, is absolutely critical. In the event of a death by suicide, an appropriate response helps employees to come to terms with the loss of a colleague and friend while making it possible for an organisation to learn from one of the most difficult employee situations it will face. This toolkit is designed to help organisations adopt a strategy to reduce the risk of a suicide that will have an impact on the workplace.

In this context, the term ‘workplace suicide’ is understood to be a suicide in or outside the workplace, which may involve an employee or contractor, or a family member or close friend of an employee or contractor. It may also concern a significant customer or supplier, or a person who is important to the organisation, such as a union representative. This toolkit provides advice when there is strong evidence that suicide is the cause of death, and when the community, colleagues, relatives and friends, are responding to what they believe is a suicide and so experiencing the corresponding impact and emotions.

View and download the seven other toolkits in this series, developed in partnership with Public Health England

Crisis Management in the Event of a Suicide

Crisis Management In The Event Of A Suicide: A Postvention Toolkit For Employers, developed with support from Samaritans, offers practical advice for employers to follow in the aftermath of an employee suicide.

Domestic Abuse Toolkit

Domestic Abuse Toolkit. This toolkit, sponsored by The Insurance Charities, provides support and guidance for employers in responding to the risk of domestic abuse.

Drugs, Alcohol and Tobacco: A Toolkit For Employers

Drugs, Alcohol and Tobacco: A Toolkit For Employers. Supporting your employees wellbeing to reduce sickness, absence, and improve mental wellbeing and productivity.

Mental Health For Employers Toolkit

The Mental Health For Employers Toolkit is Business in the Community’s flagship publication and helps employers pick out the most valuable resources relating to mental health and develop an approach to a healthy workplace that really works.

Physical Activity, Healthy Eating and Healthier Weight: A Toolkit For Employers

Physical Activity, Healthy Eating and Healthier Weight: A Toolkit For Employers. This toolkit shows how working in partnership with employees, employers can take a positive, proactive, preventative approach to support weight management and encourage greater physical activity.

Reducing the risk of suicide

Reducing the risk of suicide. This provides support and advice on how to incorporate suicide prevention into an employer’s workplace health and wellbeing framework. It was developed with support from Samaritans.

Sleep and Recovery Toolkit

Sleep and Recovery Toolkit. This toolkit sponsored by Anglian Water, offers insight and advice on addressing the increasingly damaging sleep-loss epidemic affecting the nation.

References

1. Office for National Statistics; (2019); Suicides in the UK: 2018 registrations; available at https://www.ons.gov.uk

2. Campaign Against Living Miserably; (no date); available at https://www.thecalmzone.net

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