Lifeline Aotearoa launches world first approach to suicide with ‘Zero Suicide Workplace’
1 October 2018: Lifeline Aotearoa is delighted to advance the Zero Suicide movement in New Zealand with the pilot launch of Zero Suicide Workplace. The program is the first of its kind globally to be offering a Zero Suicide Workplace platform that caters to the entire business sector – regardless of industry.
The Zero Suicide Workplace program is a systems approach that will help businesses advance their employee health and wellbeing approaches, build resilience among their people and equip them with specific suicide awareness and prevention skills. The initiative is currently being piloted exclusively with Lion NZ.
Provisional suicide figures released in August show that 46% of those that ended their lives were in fact in employment - a fact that goes unnoticed. Likewise, Lifeline data reveals that callers who are actively planning suicide are twice as likely to be suffering from workplace stress than callers who are assessed as low risk for suicide.
Glenda Schnell, Executive Director at Lifeline, says: "It makes sense to open up communication channels and support networks in the places New Zealanders spend most of their waking lives – at work. The framework will work alongside organisations existing policies and programs - providing a safe structure to increase the capacity of people to respond to others in the workplace.
"This is ultimately about prevention and the aim is to equip everyday Kiwi’s with the skills to recognise distress, know how to ask brave questions and what to do with the answers. These skills are taken home to whanau, friends and the community to effect a wider social change in wellbeing and suicide prevention."
Lion NZ Managing Director, Rory Glass, says: "We’re incredibly honoured to be working with Lifeline to pilot this program. We put the safety and wellbeing of our people above all else. If we can have brave conversations, speak up and openly discuss the issue in the workplace we can reduce some of the stigma and provide an environment where our people feel they can come forward for help if they need it.
"We all need to play a part and we’ll be working with Lifeline to share our experience with other businesses as the pilot’s rolled out more widely."
Schnell adds: "Lion was chosen to pilot the program as they are already quite far along on their journey with a well-established employee mental health and wellbeing platform. They also employ around 1200 people in NZ – giving us the chance to trial the program with a diverse and large workplace."
The program includes an audit of wellness policies, an employee wellbeing survey, policy and process development, specialised training in wellness and suicide prevention to key staff and ongoing 24/7 support options available through the Lifeline helpline.
The program is expected to extend to other businesses nationwide from March 2019. Workplaces that are not able to take on the full systems package will be able to request components of the program, including assistance with policy development or resilience training for staff.
With no government funding for Lifeline’s community helplines, this program will provide another revenue stream to ensure it can continue to provide this essential service.
The Speight’s team in Dunedin have jumped on board to support the workplace movement with Speight’s Brewery Leader, James Te Ahuru, and his brother, opening up to share their song around mental illness to encourage other Kiwis to check in with their workmates. Speight’s I’m Not OK
About the Zero Suicide movement:
Zero Suicide as a systems approach that began in the US healthcare sector - with the belief that suicide deaths for individuals under care within health and behavioural health systems are preventable. The movement has begun to gain momentum globally in the health sector, including the announcement earlier this year in the United Kingdom that the National Health Service (NHS) is adopting the approach. It has also recently been adopted by the United States Construction Industry, in efforts to reduce the second highest suicide rates of any occupational group in the USA.
Lifeline Aotearoa saw this as a chance to develop a workplace product that could be applied across all industries – not limiting the learning to specific sectors. The idea is to support employees throughout New Zealand to attain skills that they can then take home to their friends, whanau and communities.
About Lifeline Aotearoa:
Lifeline Aotearoa has been helping New Zealanders in crisis for over 50 years. Our free community helplines (Lifeline 24/7, Suicide Crisis Helpline, Kidsline) as well as our text support service HELP (4357) are answered by qualified counsellors and trained volunteers from call centres in Auckland and Christchurch. We also provide specialist counselling and corporate and volunteer training. We receive over 10,000 calls each month from people of all ages and ethnicities who are struggling with a wide range of issues including relationship and work problems, mental health, grief, abuse, bullying and loneliness. We help an average of 6 people a day at high risk of suicide. Calls to our helplines are free, confidential and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We receive no government funding for these helplines and rely on public donations. Lifeline Aotearoa is part of Presbyterian Support Northern, a non-government organisation in the health and social service sector.
About Lion NZ:
Lion can trace its roots in New Zealand back to 1840. It is the country’s leading alcohol beverage company with brands including Speight’s, Wither Hills, Steinlager, Mac’s and Hopt Soda. The company employs around 1,200 people across its head office and The Pride in Auckland, Speight's, Harrington’s, Emerson’s and Panhead breweries, the Wither Hills winery and its Liquor King stores. Lion has the Rainbow Tick, won Gold at the YWCA Equal Pay Awards and won the Work-Life Balance category at the Diversity Works Awards in 2017 for closing the gender pay gap and embedding flexible working into the business. It is a founding member of social change charity Cheers, runs its own alcohol education platform called Alcohol&Me and provides funding to support Health Promotion Agency’s moderation programs. For more information on Lion NZ, visit our website.
For more information:
Please contact Sophie Kurta – External Relations Manager, Lion NZ