Information for employers and managers
Many people struggle to cope at some point in their lives. Suicide can be a difficult subject to talk about and people can find it challenging to open up about how they are feeling. That’s why it’s so important to raise awareness on this important topic, keep checking in with others and look out for the warning signs.
It’s a common misconception that those affected by suicide also struggle with their mental health. It isn’t always the case that someone who is suicidal or has died by suicide had pre-existing mental health issues – it can be situational e.g. becoming homeless, struggling financially or experiencing grief or a relationship breakdown. Learn more about...
According to the World Health Organization, over 700,000 people take their own life each year, which is one person every 40 seconds, and the UK is ranked 116 out of 183 countries for suicide figures. Suicide is a prevalent issue within the UK, with a total of 1 in 5 people having suicidal thoughts, while 1 in 15 attempted suicide.
Within organisations, 9% of employees have thoughts of suicide or self-harm, with female employees almost twice as likely to seek mental health support. Financial stress doubles the likelihood of experiencing such thoughts. Suicide rates vary by UK region and deprivation, with rates the highest in North-East England.
According to ONS, in 2021, there were 6,567 deaths by suicide registered in the UK, with males aged between 45-49 as having the highest suicide rate in England and Wales. A total of 126 people die by suicide in the UK every week, with around 74% of those being male. There are many factors that make men more vulnerable to suicide and the automotive industry is male dominated so this is a particular area of concern.
The automotive industry experiences instances of suicide even with employers implementing initiatives to support their employees. Sadly, at Ben we have seen an increase in calls to our helpline for support around suicide over recent years.
Men are often under pressure to appear strong and not show signs of weakness. This means they are less likely to talk about any issues they are facing or seek help when they are struggling with their mental health.
Sometimes pride comes into the equation and men may think they can handle their issues on their own or worry about being a burden to others. Men are also more likely to respond to stress with risky behaviour such as abusing alcohol which increases the risk of suicide by up to eight times.
Employers have a role to play in reducing the stigma around male mental health and provide relevant support to prevent suicide. From findings in our survey report 2023, 1 in 3 automotive workers reported having had issues managing their mental health, compared with 1 in 6 of the general UK working population.
Employers have a responsibility to support the mental health and wellbeing of their employees and understanding the risk of suicide should be part of the mental health strategy of every company.
In 2022, Ben supported 303 individuals who disclosed they were experiencing suicidal ideation or intent. Around 7 employers each year call on our Urgent Response Service after an employee has taken their own life. As part of the service, Ben supports their colleagues to come to terms with the devastating news and its impact. With this in mind, employers need a clear approach to suicide prevention as part of a robust health and safety strategy. This is about ensuring that there is not only support for those who are at risk of self-harm
and suicide but also raising awareness and educating more people to look out for warning signs and know how they can help someone at risk.
Things that employers can do:
- Foster a positive and inclusive workplace culture
- Promote good mental and physical health
- Reduce stress at work
- Develop a health and wellbeing, or specific mental health and wellbeing support plan for employees
- Be approachable – have dedicated staff who can be approached
- Promote Ben’s support & services
- Educate and train managers and key staff in mental health first aid and suicide first aid.
Firstly, it’s important to know the warning signs to look out for that could indicate someone is at risk of suicide:
- Giving away possessions
- Writing goodbye letters
- Becoming withdrawn or isolated
- Increase in alcohol or drug use
- Behaving erratically or experiencing extreme mood swings
- Giving up previously loved activities
Saying phrases like...
- They don’t want to be here anymore
- Wanting a way out
- That life has no purpose
- Being a burden to others
- That nobody cares
Impactful life situations
Impactful life situations that bring loss, stress or trauma can be a trigger, such as:
- Money worries – debt
- Loss of job
- Abuse of any kind
- Relationship breakdown
- Feelings of failure / rejection
The areas listed above don’t always lead to suicidal thoughts and everyone is different so some people may not display any of these signs. However, don’t be afraid to check in with someone if you feel something has changed or is worrying you more than usual.
If you are an employer or HR professional and need further guidance on the topic of suicide and self-harm, we work with employers to help them support their employees.
Urgent response service
Our urgent response service offers support with critical incidents that affect your people including support for suicide, self-harm and safeguarding concerns, as well as complex cases. For more information click here or contact your dedicated Account Manager or our Helpline on 08081 311 333.
Suicide First Aid training
The Suicide First Aid through Understanding Suicide Intervention (SFAUSI) course gives learners the knowledge and tools to understand that suicide is one of the most preventable deaths and some basic skills can help someone with the thoughts of suicide stay safe from their thoughts and stay alive.
Suicide awareness and prevention online training
This course can be delivered virtually or face-to-face. Participants will gain a wider understanding of the impact of suicide on the UK, learn ways to recognise the signs of suicide and provide the participant with information on how to support an individual, and act immediately, if required.
Mental health training
Ben’s Mental Health First Aid course enables participants to gain in-depth understanding of mental health and factors that affect wellbeing, develop practical skills to spot the triggers and signs of a range of mental health issues, build the confidence to step in, reassure and support a person in distress using the Mental Health First Aid action plan. It qualifies participants as Mental Health First Aiders. For more information click here or contact your dedicated Account Manager or email email@example.com.
Ben’s Managing Mental Health in the Workplace training enables participants to gain a greater understanding of mental health and recognise common mental health conditions. It gives participants the confidence to effectively manage and support someone who may be experiencing poor mental health. For more information click here or contact your dedicated Account Manager or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If someone you’re with has seriously harmed themselves, or you think they might be at risk of acting on suicidal thoughts, please do the following:
- Call 999 if there is an immediate risk to life
- Visit your nearest Accident and Emergency (A&E) department and explain that the person you are with is thinking of suicide
- Call 111 if the person you’re with can stay safe for now but you still require urgent support.
If someone needs support but is not currently in an emergency situation / crisis then Ben is here:
Chat online or call our helpline. It’s free & confidential and available.
Opening hours: Monday to Friday - 8am to 8pm.
Ben’s out of hours text service
For those who work, or have worked, in the automotive industry who are struggling or in crisis.
- Opening hours: 8pm – 8am
- Text the word BEN to 85258
Ben’s online mental health support
National crisis support
Emotional support for those struggling to cope, or at risk of suicide.
Opening hours: 24/7
Call: 116 123
UK wide service for those looking to talk.
Opening hours: 5pm-midnight
Call: 0800 58 58 58
Out of hours mental health helpline for those affected and also family, friends, or carers.
Opening hours: 4:30pm – 10:30pm
Call: 0300 304 7000
Confidential support for children and those aged under 35 who are at risk of suicide, or for anyone concerned about them.
Opening hours: 9am – midnight
Call: 0800 068 4141
Text: 07860 039967
If you are worried about yourself, please see our web page ‘Suicide prevention – I’m at risk of suicide’. If you are worried about someone, please see our web page called ‘Suicide prevention – I’m worried about someone’.
You can download this content as a leaflet on this page and share it as a resource in your workplace.
 Suicides in England and Wales: 2021 registrations; Suicide Statistics | 2023 Data; Suicide statistics - House of Commons Library - UK Parliament
 McManus, S., Bebbington, P., Jenkins, R. & Brugha, T. (2016) Mental health and wellbeing in England. Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey 2014, NHS Digital, 2014, Chapter 12
 Pindar, J. (2023) Champion Health Suicide Statistics Accessed from: https://championhealth.co.uk/insights/suicidal-thoughts-statistics/
 Champion Health (2022) Cost of Living Crisis Wellbeing Report Accessed from: cost-of-living-crisis-wellbeing-report.pdf (championhealth.co.uk)
 ONS (2022) Suicides in England and Wales 2021 registrations Accessed from: Suicides in England and Wales tables, Table 4
 ONS (2020) Accessed from: Suicides in England and Wales - Office for National Statistics (ons.gov.uk)
 ONS (2022) Suicides in England and Wales 2021 registrations Accessed from: Suicides in England and Wales - Office for National Statistics (ons.gov.uk)