This September 10th marked World Suicide Prevention Day 2020. In addition to hearing from our staff and Champions, we also asked you as Employers how you address suicide prevention in the workplace. We hear from Tim, HR Manager of CMB Engineering, who shares his personal experience in assisting a site-based worker at a critical point. CMB Engineering has received lots of positive feedback from their Employees and are one of the front runners in delivering an on-site service. Here’s Tim’s experience. Trigger warning: contains reference to suicide attempt.
I had a phone call from one of our site supervisors on a Friday morning. He was very concerned about a fitter who had been working on his site. The fitter had called him to say he had had enough of everything and he wouldn’t see him again after the weekend.
After several attempts to contact him, the Employee in question answered his phone to me. We had a long conversation about his past and all the issues that were pushing him to the point of considering and planning how he was going to take his own life. I believe the tipping point was the extremely brazen and disrespectful attitude he had received from the receptionist at his surgery when he reached out about his mental health. After a good chat I managed to ease him slightly and told him I would contact the surgery and make sure he got to see his doctor that afternoon. Following some firm words (from my end ????) to the surgery receptionist an appointment was arranged for that afternoon with the Employee’s doctor.
We spoke after his appointment and he felt much more positive. He was prescribed some medication and was put on sick leave for 3 weeks, during which we arranged for him to visit some family in England as we both agreed he needed to get away from his current living situation.
This was about 18 months ago now and I keep regular contact with the Employee and am pleased to say that he is coping well. He still has some dark days but not to the point of considering suicide.
He mentioned that a big help is knowing that the company supports him, does not judge him and that I am always available if he needs to talk.
From a personal and professional standpoint, this was very challenging at it was my first case of dealing with someone who had actually planned to take his own life. I had spoken to employees feeling anxious, stressed and depressed in the past but not to this extreme. This experience has definitely helped my own understanding and viewpoint and it’s shown me how valuable a simple conversation can be. It’s made me realise that everyone is different and the factors that affect individuals are so varied - what effects one person will not have the same impact on another. Mental health is definitely not a ‘one size fits all’ but sometimes helping someone just starts with a conversation.