Workplace Mental Health & Suicide Prevention

Discussing Mental Health and Suicide in the workplace is hard.

It doesn’t need to be. Let us help.

The Fond du Lac County Mental Health Action Team wants to provide Fond du Lac County area businesses with practical tools, resources, and training to better support their employees’ emotional well-being.

By making these resources available, our hope is that employers will take steps to ensure that their employees, when faced with someone in mental distress (be it a co-worker, customer, family member, or friend), can recognize the warning signs, know how to respond, and have access to crucial information about local resources.

Taking a few simple, concrete actions, area businesses really can reduce the likelihood of a tragedy which could have long-lasting consequences on their employees’ well-being and on the business as a whole.

No diagnosing. No treatment.

The goal of providing these resources is not to turn a company’s employees into mental health professionals. The goal is that through basic training and informational efforts employees will be better able to notice when someone might be in trouble and respond in a helpful way

Workplace suicide prevention efforts make sense for a number of reasons. These include:

  • Promoting a mentally healthy workforce is good business as it has been shown to lower absenteeism and presenteeism, and increase productivity.
  • Many adults spend nearly 40% of their waking hours at work (more than many spend with their own families). Because of this, they are often in a prime position to notice changes in their co-workers’ emotional well-being.
  • Employees who frequently interact with customers or clients may be in a position to notice concerning behaviors or comments, creating an opportunity for them to intervene.
  • Equipping employees with such information can help them in their interactions with their spouses, children, and friends.  There’s no denying that what happens in employees’ personal lives has an impact on their work. Watching a loved one struggle with their mental health or losing someone to suicide can have a dramatic and lasting impact on someone’s ability to perform at their best.

Ensuring that all members of an organization are capable of identifying someone in distress, know how to respond in a helpful way, and have access to information about local resources can help them in their interactions with their co-workers, customers, spouses, children, and friends — and potentially avoid a tragedy with long-lasting consequences.

Key Components

The key components include QPR Suicide Prevention training, NAMI’s Hearts+Minds training, the Pathways to Care navigation tool, and a variety of local and online resources that can be used and promoted by your organization.

QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer)

QPR (which stands for Question, Persuade, Refer) is a suicide prevention training that prepares people to recognize a potential suicide crisis, respond in a safe and supportive way, and assist the individual in obtaining the help they need. This training can be done in just 60-90 minutes and can be provided free of charge to your organization. It currently can be offered either in person or virtually. To learn more about QPR and request a training, CLICK HERE.

NAMI Hearts+Minds Training

NAMI Hearts+Minds is a wellness program designed to educate and empower you to better manage your health — mentally and physically.  This is a free 5-week class for both peers, family members, and advocates. Contact NAMI Fond du Lac about bringing this training to your organization!

Pathways to Care

Pathways to Care was created to help individuals in Fond du Lac County understand the options available to those who are experiencing mental health crises or challenges, and connect those in distress to area services and supports. It is available as both a printed guide (in English & Spanish) and an online, interactive, and mobile-friendly tool. To access the online tool or request printed copies CLICK HERE.

NAMI Stigma Free Company Toolkit

NAMI has created materials to help companies reduce stigma in their workplaces. The methods emphasized include: creating company policies regarding mental health, showing support to employees, providing management training, and decreasing stigma in the workplace. To view an overview document CLICK HERE.

Local Resources

Mental Health Services FAQs is a series of radio segments recorded in 2021 which aim to inform the public about what mental health services are available locally and break down some of the barriers to seeking help. The providers (including representatives from Aurora Behavioral Health, Collaborative Wellness, Delta Center, Doll & Associates, Fondy CARES, and Kenealy Counseling) shared information about the services offered at their agency and also covered some of the common questions about counseling and behavioral health care. Examples of these FAQs include: how to determine if counseling is needed and when to seek treatment, how to talk with a loved one about getting treatment, and how to figure out what is covered by insurance. CLICK HERE to read descriptions of and listen to the segments.

NAMI Fond du Lac strives to support and empower every person, young and old, touched by mental illness. They are committed to removing stigma and nurturing recovery through advocacy, education and outreach. NAMI Fond du Lac offers a variety of support groups & services for both individuals living with mental illness and their family & friends. They also offer In Our Own Voice, a free 50 minute interactive presentation that provides insight into the hope and recovery possible for people living with mental illness. CLICK HERE to learn more about the programming offered.

Survivors of Suicide Loss (SOSL) Support Group is a free support group held monthly in Fond du Lac. The group provides a safe, judgement-free space for those grieving the suicide death of a loved one, no matter how much time has passed. Members of this peer-led group have the opportunity to share their story, feel less isolated, and be supported by others who have also experienced a loss to suicide. Informational brochures are available. CLICK HERE to learn more about the group and sign-up to receive meeting reminders.

Online Resources

Headspace for the Workplace is a podcast by Dr. Sally Spencer-Thomas which covers a variety of topics relating to mental health in the workplace.

Building the Mentally Healthy Workplace: A Strategic Plan for Improving Employer Mental Health Practices (from Mental Health America of Wisconsin)

OSHA Preventing Suicides Toolkit is a group of resources put together by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration that is focused on the construction industry, but is applicable to a wide range of workplaces.

Strategies for Suicide Prevention in the Workplace (from Know the Signs). Includes an overview of the following five strategies and recommended implementation steps: 1) Encourage use of screening tools to identify problems early and connect people to help. 2) Offer Suicide Prevention Training for managers, supervisors, and Human Resources staff at minimum. 3) Promote behavioral health services & resources. 4) Provide educational opportunities at work. 5) Develop a crisis plan that ensure safe and compassionate response in a crisis or after a

Resources for After a Suicide Occurs (Postvention)

Manager’s Guide to Suicide Postvention in the Workplace (from the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention and American Association of Suicidology). A comprehensive guide that provides clear steps for postvention, giving leadership a sense of how to: provide an immediate response to the traumatic event; follow a short-term recovery plan; and develop long-term strategies for helping employees cope. The publication provides succinct procedures with checklists and flow charts and serves as a go-to guide for people dealing with the crisis of suicide. The goal of the guide is to help reduce the impact of the suicide event by offering a blueprint for handling these challenging situations.

Uniting for Suicide Postvention – Workplace (from the VA’s MIRECC/CoE). Contains guidance on what steps workplaces can take following the death of an employee by suicide. Resources in a variety of formats are available, including podcasts, videos, infographics, and printable documents.