Insurers and employers should use World Suicide Prevention Day to ask themselves if they are doing enough, according to RedArc Nurses, who have seen a rise in the number of people with thoughts of suicide referred to their service. As almost every individual has a touch point with at least one insurance provider or an employer, RedArc believes the number of people taking their own lives could be reduced by more insurers offering non-claims dependent, mental health support for conditions such as chronic depression, stress, anxiety, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and trauma, psychosis and schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder.
Christine Husbands, managing director for RedArc says: “The referrals we receive are primarily via direct and employer-sponsored insurances where preventative measures and emotional and psychological support have been put in place for employees and policyholders. This is good news as we are able to step in and support those experiencing deep unhappiness and distress, and help them access appropriate and timely emotional support, which can reduce the risk of them choosing to end their own life.
“Few insurers or employers are equipped to deliver mental health support directly but if more chose to work with third parties to provide mental health support, it could significantly reduce the number of suicides every year. It is literally a matter of life or death.”
The statistics, this World Suicide Prevention Day (10 September) organised by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and the World Health Organisation (WHO):
• More than 800,000 people take their lives each year across the world.*
• In the UK 5,821 people died by suicide in 2017 – an average of 16 people a day.**
Grass roots campaigns
Many charities and organisations such as PAPYRUS (Prevention of young suicide) and the Mentally Healthy Schools initiative are working hard to support and educate children about suicide prevention which encourages young people to talk about their mental health and which in turn will hopefully see a shift in these trends.
Until then, RedArc believes that, despite high-profile campaigns such as Heads Together, spearheaded by the young royals, the majority of adults in the UK are reluctant to talk about their mental health and a stigma still exists.
Christine Husbands continued: “We want employers and insurers to understand that suicidal thoughts do not have to end in suicide. By offering third-party emotional support alongside traditional financial support, employers and insurers differentiate themselves from others in their field and can really make a difference on a very personal level. It also engenders brand trust and loyalty.”
Importance of early intervention
If stress and anxiety are allowed to fester they become much harder to treat. Therefore early intervention is crucial in nipping mental health conditions in the bud and in preventing an individual from concluding that the only way out of their situation is to take their own life.
Christine Husbands, concluded: “Suicidal feelings do not have to end in suicide, expert support can prevent an individual taking such a devastating step.”
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*Samaritan’s Suicide Statistics Report 2017