Zero Suicide Workplace Pilot Launches

A new training programme being piloted by Lifeline is looking to reduce suicide rates by providing businesses with better support systems.

The Zero Suicide Workplace programme pilot, launched today, aims to help businesses advance their employee health and wellbeing approaches, by building resilience among employees and equipping them with specific suicide awareness and prevention skills.

Glenda Schnell, Executive Director at Lifeline, said it makes sense to open up communication channels and support networks in the places New Zealanders spend most of their waking lives – at work.

The programme will give companies a structure to respond to any mental health crises that arise at work and try to prevent suicide.

"This is ultimately about prevention and the aim is to equip everyday Kiwis with the skills to recognise distress, know how to ask brave questions and what to do with the answers," she said.

"These skills are taken home to whanau, friends and the community to effect a wider social change in wellbeing and suicide prevention."

Provisional suicide figures released in August show that 46 per cent of those that ended their lives were in employment.

Likewise, Lifeline data reveals that callers who are actively planning suicide are twice as likely to be suffering from workplace stress than callers who are assessed as low risk for suicide.

Schnell said Lion was chosen to pilot the programme as they already have a well-established employee mental health and wellbeing platform.

"They also employ around 1,200 people in NZ – giving us the chance to trial the programme with a diverse and large workplace," she said.

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