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Support services help reduce suicide rate among men

Published by: LifeWorks,

Suicide rates among men in the UK are at their lowest for more than 30 years, according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics this week. For men, who account for three quarters of suicides in the UK, the rate dropped to 15.5 per 100,000 in 2017 from 20 in the 1980s.

It’s thought that erosion of the social stigma of mental health and widespread efforts to support those struggling are having an effect but there’s still a long way to go. Importantly, many people do not believe the NHS has enough funding to support these initiatives and employers should step in to support the physical and mental well-being of their employees.

A survey carried out by Westfield Health earlier this year found that 70% of UK respondents believe the NHS is not cut out to support well-being. While eight in 10 believe their employer should do more to pick up the slack.

Something we at LifeWorks feel strongly about is that employers have a duty of care, not just to their people, but to their shareholders and national economies, to invest in their employees’ total well-being and help people build and sustain mental, physical, social and financial wellness.

We know it’s a model that works. When financial protection provider Unum published its Employee Assistance Program (EAP) data for the first time earlier this year, it showed that those who sought support really benefited from it.

Over the course of 2017, 70% of the 12,610 callers to Unum’s employee support service wanted help with mental health problems. Around 60% of those with mental health issues were offered counselling and 92% saw their mental health improve as a result.

The evidence is timely support for a recent independent review on mental health commissioned by the Prime Minister, which recommended that all employers with more than 500 employees should provide tailored mental health support.

EAPs are a first line of defense for employers and line managers in protecting the well-being of their staff and by continuing to reduce the stigma around mental health concerns and promoting the high success rates, it’s hoped that more people will be encouraged to seek help when they need it.

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