Lifeline Aotearoa has launched the Zero Suicide movement in New Zealand with its pilot program the Zero Suicide Workplace. The programme will be the first of its kind globally to offer this kind of platform that caters to the entire business sector across all industries. Lion NZ will be the first company to pilot the programme in New Zealand, with other businesses expected to receive the program from March next year.

The Zero Suicide Workplace programme gives a systematic approach to the issue to 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 latest provisional suicide figures show that 46 percent of those that ended their lives were currently employed. While 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.

“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,” said Glenda Schnell, executive director at Lifeline.

“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 is incredibly honoured to be working with Lifeline to pilot this programme. “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 stigmas 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.”

“Lion was chosen to pilot the programme 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.

Workplaces that for whatever reason are unable to undergo the full systems programme can request components of the system including assistance with policy development or resilience training for staff.