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Welcome to the latest edition of your Healthy Workplace Newsletter.
September 2021.

How can employers help prevent suicide?


Every life lost to suicide is a tragedy, but this sad reality doesn’t need to happen. What can employers do to prevent suicide? 10th September is World Suicide Prevention Day and this year’s theme is ‘Creating Hope Through Action’. This is a reminder that our actions, no matter how big or small, provide hope to those who are struggling. There is alternative to suicide. Small talk can save lives and create a sense of connection. We can give someone hope by reaching out and showing them that we care. Knowing how to spot the warning signs of poor mental health, asking openly if the person is feeling suicidal and being ready to just listen, can make a huge difference.

Employers have a crucial role to play in suicide prevention. This September, you can ask your employees to share what makes them feel hopeful when they’re going through a difficult time, and encourage them to find the time to reach out to colleagues, friends and family more often. It’s also a good opportunity to promote the Warning Signs Campaign and help your employees at risk of or affected by suicide. Their website provides specialist advice and support in East Sussex. Check our blog to learn more and find out what else you can do to create hope through action in your workplace for World Suicide Prevention Day.

Read the Blog

Improving local services for LGBTQ+ communities


East Sussex County Council, working with a range of health, care and voluntary sector partners, are conducting a needs assessment for our lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer communities and other sexual and gender identity minorities (LGBTQ+). We want to understand your experiences of health, accessing local services and about how Covid-19 has impacted you.

If you are over 16, identify with the LGBTQ+ community and live in East Sussex (excluding Brighton and Hove), please take part in our online survey. You can also promote it in your workplace to your LGBTQ+ employees. The survey takes around 10 minutes to complete, and everyone who completes it will have the option of entering the prize draw to win one of five £50 vouchers!
 
 We want to hear from a diverse range of community members, including who are Black, Gypsy and Travellers, those aged over 50+, and those with a variation in sex characteristics. This will help us improve services for LGBTQ+ communities in East Sussex.

Access the Survey
Useful Resources

LGBTQ+ Support

Creating a workplace culture where staff that identify as LGBTQ+ are able to be themselves and perform to the best of their ability makes your organisation more competitive in the market for attracting and retaining talents. But how to address sexual orientation in the workplace? Charity Stonewall has worked with over 650 employers in the UK through their annual Workplace Equality Index. Based on previous experience of employers from different sectors, Stonewall has put together a toolkit for employers with practical steps you can take to make your workplace more inclusive. This guide brings a range of cost-effective practical interventions that have resulted in tangible improvements to the levels of satisfaction of LGBTQ+ staff.  


Have a Look »

Healthy Meetings

Now that the Covid lockdown restrictions have eased, take a look at this guide to planning healthy meetings published by the World Health Organisation for Europe to see what to consider when organising your next face-to-face meeting or event. Meetings are a good opportunity to promote best practices around sustainability, such as minimal plastic, paper and food waste, and healthy eating. Meetings planned with healthy lifestyles in mind can be catalysts to further health promotion initiatives in your workplace. The guide brings a practical list of healthy swaps and active breaks ideas, and a healthy and sustainable meeting check-list to help you with your planning.

 
Download the Guide»

World Menopause Day

Menopause is a natural stage of life. In the UK, the average age to go through menopause is 51, and there are over 4.3 million employed women aged 45-60. This means that a significant number of women will be working through their menopausal transition and will need support from their employers to manage symptoms in the workplace. Employers have a crucial role in supporting menopausal women and creating an inclusive workplace where the topic can be discussed and addressed. Have a look at this practical guide for managers put together by the CIPD to see what you can do to support menopausal women in your organisation to mark World Menopause Day on 18th October, and beyond.
 

Access the Guide»

Cancer Support

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. According to the charity Breast Cancer Now, around 55,000 women and 370 men are diagnosed with this type of cancer every year in the UK. As an employer, you can support your staff with a long-term health condition such as breast cancer to return to and remain in work. This helps your business not only to retain a valuable member of staff but also to reduce the costs associated with sickness absence. Macmillan’s Working Through Cancer guide is a valuable tool for employers supporting employees affected by cancer, which could be shared with your line managers and team leaders this October.


See the Guide »

Spotlight on Farmers


People working in agriculture deal with a range of complex issues, from working in isolation to uncertainties related to weather conditions, animal diseases and low commodity prices. Many farmers don’t own the land on which they work, so their livelihoods can be affected by distant landlords. Mental health in the farming sector is now in the spotlight considering the high risk of suicide. Access to highly lethal means adds to the problem and increases the likelihood of fatal suicide attempts. But as deaths are often reported as accidents related to farm equipment or working methods, it’s difficult to gage the actual number of lives lost to suicide in farming.

There is a lot of stigma around mental health in farming communities, where everybody knows one another. It can be particularly difficult for those suffering from stress or depression to seek help. A recent survey found that over 80% of farmers under the age of 40 believe poor mental health is the biggest hidden problem that they and their peers face today. 

Some organisations are dedicated to support farmers wellbeing in the UK, that you can signpost your staff and co-workers to:
  • Farm Safety Foundation/Yellow Wellies has published a booklet with tips for coping with stress and depression
  • The Farming Community Network has a confidential helpline from 7am to 11pm every day of the year on 03000 111 999, and it provides help with stress, depression, isolation, long-term illnesses, accidents and alcohol or drugs dependency. Click here to learn more about the Farming Help helpline and other support available.
  • Fit for Farming is a helpful booklet developed by a team of farmers and specialists in men's health, which also includes details on all the common occupational health concerns for UK farmers. 
  • Boots and Heels podcast aims to educate and empower people in agriculture with interesting interviews, and has been addressing the problem of stigma and stereotypes in the industry.

National Eye Health Week


This year's National Eye Health Week will take place from 20 to 26 September 2021, promoting the importance of good eye health and the need of regular eye tests for all with the theme ‘Vision Matters’.

Poorly designed workstations and long hours in front of a screen can cause eye strain, as well as fatigue, upper limb problems and backache. In September, you can encourage your staff to have a sight test and to take better care of their eyes with these 8 tips to avoid eye strain when working with display equipment. In addition to these, studies show that good nutrition support eye health, and antioxidants present in certain foods can help to prevent retinal damage.

You can also support your employees’ eye health by assessing the risks associated with display screen equipment (DSE) and providing the adjustments needed. This Health and Safety Executive (HSE) leaflet gives guidance on what is required to protect employees from any risks associated with computers and laptops and how to comply with the regulations. This DSE workstation checklist could be used as a tool to help you complete a risk assessment of your workstations and work environment, and it could be shared with your staff.

Get Involved
Training and Events

Zero Suicide Alliance

Anxiety caused by uncertainty has led to an increase on suicide rates during the pandemic. In September raise awareness in your workplace of the importance of suicide prevention, and upskill your staff to have a life-saver conversation with a team member or a work colleague with this 20-minute free online training created by Zero Suicide Alliance.  


Have a Look »

Real Talk Interactive Film

Grassroots have created the Real Talk About Suicide. This is an interactive film that explains the key points of suicide prevention as the main character makes choices to support a friend with suicidal thoughts and behaviours. The viewer is prompted to answer multiple-choice questions about the next steps the character might take to help his friend. The aim is to increase the skills and confidence of the viewer in responding to people at risk of suicide, and to provide links to further sources of support. This film could be shared with your workforce as part of your training portfolio.


Learn More>>

If we can support you in anyway, contact us: healthy.workplace@eastsussex.gov.uk
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