Message issued to mark World Suicide Prevention Day

Hardstaff Barriers is reminding each and every member of its workforce that they are valued and supported and that there is always somebody available to listen.

As a long-standing advocate for workplace mental health support, Hardstaff issued the reminder to mark World Suicide Prevention Day, on September 10, 2021.

In the UK in 2019, 6,524 people took their own lives. Men are three times more likely than women to die by suicide. Women are more likely to report suicidal thoughts.

Men aged 45-49 and women aged 50-54 have the highest suicide rates in England and Wales.*

By raising awareness, reducing the stigma around suicide and encouraging well-informed action, we can reduce instances of suicide around the world. 

As mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety, can lead to suicide or suicidal thoughts, it is important that employers do all they can to support their staff members. 

Hardstaff Barriers has a thorough and proactive mental health strategy in place and has built up a positive health and safety culture in the workplace.

Initiatives include training 10 per cent of the workforce as mental health ‘first aiders,’ an Employee Assistance Programme to give staff access to mental health support, encouraging staff to speak up and to submit their views about any issue, providing weekly feedback to staff on these submissions and holding monthly staff forums.

Having a mental health policy in place to support employees, for even the smallest companies, will help to reduce the stigma associated with mental health and reduce the number of days that employees need to take off work due to mental ill-health.

Here are just some of the initiatives that the Hardstaff Barriers has in place to address mental health proactively:

  • ‘Mental Health First Aiders’ – 10% Hardstaff Barriers’ and sister firm of Asset VRS’ workforce have been trained as ‘Mental Health First Aiders.’ These team members are responsible for looking out for their colleagues and have been trained to recognise the signs of mental illness and stress. Sensitively, the member of staff in need is then signposted to a suitable avenue of support. As standard, leaflets on a wide range of mental health conditions and issues are made available to all staff in communal areas.
  • Employee Assistance Programme – This is also available to all employees, allowing them to access advice and help in difficult times. 
  • ‘Speak up’ culture – This culture, which has been developed since 2016, encourages staff to have their say at every opportunity. This gives every employee a voice and allows staff, no matter what their job role, to have their say and be heard. In turn, this improves confidence, morale and mental wellbeing.
  • Quarterly staff forums – Staff are invited to voluntarily attend a quarterly staff forum (virtual during pandemic) where their ideas and questions are able to be put on the table to discuss with senior managers and directors. This allows every team member to be heard.
  • Designing out health and wellbeing risks – The company focuses heavily on the prevention of mental ill-health, rather than reacting to the issues when they are identified. The company ensures that staff are given annual medicals, work safety medicals, wellbeing training and drug and alcohol awareness education.
  • Healthy working environment – At the office & yard, 100 pieces of free fruit is provided each week, along with breakout rooms and updated welfare areas, both inside and out.
  • Flexible working arrangements – Flexible working and home working are strongly supported by the company. Lengthy and unnecessary travel is also eradicated with the latest teleconferencing facilities. This all assists in a better work, life balance, which can impact on mental health.

Dave Todd, Director of Hardstaff Barriers, said: “This is a critical time for employers to be supporting their most valuable assets – their members of staff, both mentally and physically.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has undoubtedly been one of the most stressful and difficult times that many people have ever experienced.

“Speaking openly to staff about mental health, starting right now, about the fact that everybody has issues from time to time and outlining the support available to them, will encourage people to come forward if they need to.

“Hardstaff Barriers is proud to be supporting World Suicide Prevention Day and we want to remind our valuable team members, once again, that we are here to support them.”

“Speaking openly to staff about mental health, starting right now, about the fact that everybody has issues from time to time and outlining the support available to them, will encourage people to come forward if they need to.”
Dave Todd, Director of Hardstaff Barriers