With Christmas and New Year fast approaching, it’s important to check in with those around us. The increased pressure and loneliness of this time of year can be significant triggers for those struggling with their mental health and experiencing suicidal ideation. A 2015 survey by Mind* showed that more than a third (36 per cent) of people with mental health problems have self-harmed to cope with the pressure of Christmas. Of the of 1,100 people surveyed, more than half (52 per cent) considered harming themselves at Christmas, while nearly half (45 per cent) considered taking their own life.
Spot the risks
Understanding who might be at risk can help us have conversations where they are needed and could save someone’s life. When speaking to colleagues consider:
- Are they spending Christmas alone?
- Are they having financial worries?
- Are they having relationship difficulties, or spending Christmas away from children?
- Have they witnessed a death or experienced trauma at work?
- Have they been bereaved?
- Are going through HR processes at work, or in a longer term sickness absence?
- The Grief and Loss (griefandlosswyh.co.uk) Service is open 8am to 8pm 365 days a year, including all the bank holidays over the festive period. This service not only supports people who are bereaved, but offers colleagues support around any loss in life.
- The West Yorkshire Suicide Bereavement Service supports anyone affected by suicide, including colleagues who may be bereaved by the death of a patient/ service user.
- The West Yorkshire Suicide Prevention website has detailed information about local crisis and suicide prevention services. It has links to training providers and lots of additional resources.