The Irish Hospice Foundation has launched a new guide on dealing with grief in the workplace, and providing support for employees, particularly in cases of 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.
Breffni Mc Guinness, National Bereavement Development Specialist with Irish Hospice Foundation, played a key role in the development of the guide.
“Providing appropriate support to staff who are bereaved is a key element of staff wellbeing, especially when the loss involves suicide. Helping managers and staff to respond with humanity, compassion and competence are key steps, as is having an appropriate bereavement policy. ‘Grief in the Workplace: Responding to Suicide’ provides practical guidance for workplaces on how these steps can be achieved,” he said.
The resource was developed in partnership with the Irish Hospice Foundation, the HSE National Office of Suicide Prevention, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) and employers’ body Ibec. It covers:
• Support for workers bereaved by suicide in their personal lives.
• Responding when an employee, contractor or member of the public dies by suicide on or off site.
• 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 also provided in the appendices.
Speaking at the launch, ICTU equality officer David Joyce said: “None of us wish to have to deal with the topic of suicide-related to our workplaces but this guide provides us with the tools to deal with it in a sensitive and practical manner.
“Congress is pleased to be a partner in this work and will circulate widely among our networks so that trade unions can play an informed and supportive role in ensuring workplaces are equipped with the skills and knowledge to respond to suicide.”
Best practice suggests that when employers or those in responsibility handle these situations well, there is a positive impact on other employees’ reactions to the loss and the resulting long term effect it may have on them.
The Central Statistics Office says between 400-500 people die by suicide every year. There are few families, communities or workplaces that have not been touched by suicide, either directly or indirectly.
The full guide ‘Grief in the Workplace: Responding to Suicide’ is available to view and download here.
It’s never been more important – or easier – to get the protections and benefits of union membership. Join Fórsa HERE or contact us HERE.