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Mental health push for regional businesses

PUBLISHED: 09:15 14 June 2018

John Dugmore speaking at the Lunch to celebrate the Launch the Suffolk 100 2017, held at The Hangar, Kesgrave Hall, Ipswich

John Dugmore speaking at the Lunch to celebrate the Launch the Suffolk 100 2017, held at The Hangar, Kesgrave Hall, Ipswich

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Suffolk Chamber of Commerce is urging local businesses to be more aware of their role in preventing suicide among their staff, and signposting support for those who may have suicidal thoughts.

The Duke of Cambridge (centre) during a visit to the FA Training Ground to meet members of the England squad before their match at Elland Road in Leeds this Evening.The Duke of Cambridge (centre) during a visit to the FA Training Ground to meet members of the England squad before their match at Elland Road in Leeds this Evening.

Earlier in the year, Suffolk Chamber teamed up with Public Health Suffolk to improve how businesses support their staff. The Chamber has set up an online resource (https://www.suffolkchamber.co.uk/initiatives/improving-workplace-health/) aimed at providing Suffolk organisations with the support available to help companies address mental health.

Underpinning this campaign is Public Health Suffolk’s Five Ways to Wellbeing. In June, the campaign focuses upon suicide prevention, with suggestions on how the workplace can support someone who is distressed or suicidal and how to make sure the workplace itself is not causing distress.

On Wednesday, Prince William praised England international Danny Rose for openly discussing his depression, in order to reduce the stigma that surrounds talking about mental health.

Suffolk Chamber’s chief executive, John Dugmore said: “as a society the UK is getting better at talking openly about death, and slowly getting better at talking about mental health. But there are signs it still struggles to talk about suicide, self-harm and risk-taking.

“Businesses play such an important role as employers, but also community leaders are well-placed to help provide support.”

The absenteeism that can ensue from poor mental health carries a huge financial burden for businesses, with more than 130 million working days lost in the UK every year due to illness and incapacity, costing the economy £29bn per year.

Occupations such as primary teachers, doctors, agricultural workers, and low-skilled male labourers have higher risk of suicide.

Abdul Razaq, director of Public Health Suffolk, added: “If one person sees this webpage, reads a resource or has a conversation they might have avoided, we’ve made an excellent start in saving lives and in avoiding preventable deaths.”

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