Launch of Grief in the Workplace: Responding to Suicide - A Guide for Employers

Developed in partnership with The Irish Hospice Foundation, Irish Congress of Trade Unions and Ibec, Grief in the Workplace: Responding to Suicide - A Guide for Employers was officially launched today. 

For many people, work and the relationships that people have with their colleagues is an important part of their lives. Yet, in the workplace, people may find it difficult to know how to support someone bereaved by suicide

Being supported appropriately in the workplace when grieving a loss, is an important part of staff wellbeing regardless of the cause of death. It is especially so when someone dies by suicide.

The guide is designed specifically with employers and union representatives in mind. It aims to help organisations increase their understanding and confidence in responding to suicide in the workplace by providing practical, sensible and sensitive guidelines to support colleagues who are grieving.

Launching the guide, Minister of State with responsibility for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English said:

"Suicide is a tragic and shattering event which not only brings a life to an untimely end but also has a devastating effect on family, friends, colleagues and the wider community. I welcome the development of this guide by Irish Hospice Foundation and their partners. It takes compassion and courage in the workplace to respond effectively to suicide. This guide provides an excellent support to employers to help them do this in a sensitive and informed way."

Oliver Skehan, National Suicide Bereavement Support Coordinator with the National Office for Suicide Prevention added: 

"Suicide and the subsequent bereavement a person experiences after the death of someone is a tough topic to broach, either in a work environment or otherwise, and it’s easy to shy away from facing up to how someone might be feeling and trying to understand how you can help them during what is a hugely difficult time. However, the comprehensive nature of this guide clearly maps out the necessary steps for employers to support their employees and outlines ways in which colleagues can support each other."

The guide is divided into three sections: 

  • Section One focuses on supporting employees who are bereaved by suicide in their personal lives
  • Section Two looks at how to respond when an employee, contractor or member of the public dies by suicide on or off site
  • Section Three looks at suggestions for developing a bereavement policy to deal with suicide in the workplace

A list of useful contact details and guidelines for responding to suicide in the workplace are provided in the Appendices.

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