Live talk available at the below date and time. The Electrical Industries Charity presents a wellbeing series of inspirational speakers and leading experts in mental health, law, and reliance. The series is uplifting and educational on a range of issues impacting our industry. Format of the series will be a 50-minute virtual presentation followed by 10 minutes of questions and answers facilitated by the Charity CEO, Tessa Ogle.
Neil’s passion for understanding mental health stems from his own profound experience of instigating a suicide intervention on London Waterloo bridge after witnessing a stranger attempting to take their own life in 2008. Six years later, Neil was reunited with ‘the stranger’, Jonny Benjamin, through the power of social media and they have remained firm friends ever since. In 2014, Neil’s role in the suicide intervention was recognised through a Pride of Britain award, and the following year, Channel 4 told this powerful story in the award-winning ‘Stranger on the Bridge’ documentary, which reached millions of viewers.
Neil’s career began in the fitness industry in 2007, when he worked as a Personal Trainer. In 2009, he launched his own business, providing bespoke personal training services to city workers, hosting group fitness sessions and running residential wellbeing retreats. Neil successfully merged his intrigue for understanding mental health with his experience in fitness in a unique way, enabling him to empower his clients to make positive changes. Neil transitioned from personal training to being a leading UK mental health advocate in 2017, visiting Europe and the USA to deliver talks on the importance of mental health. Soon after, he founded 'This Can Happen' – an innovative mental health conference tackling challenges in the workplace and bringing solutions to employers and leadership teams.
This was made possible due to Neil’s connections with influential industry leaders, business figures and personal support. His involvement with the royals’ ‘Heads Together’ movement – a powerful and globally reaching public mental health campaign – led to the conference receiving royal support from HRH the Duke of Cambridge and the royal household. More recently, Neil co-founded the charity Beyond Shame Beyond Stigma; a mental health education charity supporting young people.
Their primary objectives are reducing suicides, self-harm and stigma by improving and enhancing mental health support and information for young people, their families and educators. His international advocacy work globally has involved visiting workplaces, universities, schools and public sector organisations. In 2018, Neil was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Bristol University in recognition of his mental health campaigning and advocacy work. Neil continues to work and advise on health and wellbeing, predominantly in the private sector, helping organisations to recognise, develop and implement effective health and wellbeing strategies locally and internationally within their own ranks. Neil has completed over 250 keynote speaking events to date. He is very proud of his official ambassador status with charity Mental Health UK, with whom he continues to collaborate with on many meaningful mental health initiatives.
Every year on the 10th September people across the world come together to support world suicide prevention day. In the UK 4,912 people die every day by suicide and those deaths are completely preventable. It is important we recognise the signs of someone who may be struggling, how we can help and what we can do the prevent suicide. Some of the content within may be triggering to readers.
Statistics for England:
Statistics for Wales:
Statistics for Scotland:
People think about suicide for different reasons:
What makes someone think of suicide?
People will think of suicide for different reasons. If someone is exposed to a ‘risk factor’ it needs to be assumed that suicidal thoughts are more likely to happen.
A risk factor might include:
Why may someone end their life?
There are lots of reasons why someone may end their life. Some reasons are:
What kind of thoughts may someone have?
When someone feels suicidal, they may have some of the thoughts listed below:
Some people feel guilty for thinking about suicide if they have people who care about them. This can sometimes make the feelings of despair worse.
A change in someone’s personality and behaviour might be a sign that they are having suicidal thoughts. You may be the best judge of when someone you know is behaving differently.
Changes can include:
There are some indicators that suggest someone is more likely to attempt suicide. These include:
Signs that something is wrong can sometimes be more difficult to spot. Such as a cheeriness which may seem fake to you. Or they may joke about their emotions. Such as saying something quite alarming that is disguised as a joke. Don’t ignore your gut feeling if you are concerned about someone. Some people won’t be open about how they are feeling. A lot of people try to seek help before attempting suicide by telling other people about their feelings. This could be a professional, friend or family member. If someone tells you about how they are feeling don’t ignore them.
It may be that at the moment you are so overcome with feelings, sadness, despair, that you are not able to think clearly about other possibilities, other solutions, other alternatives, other ways of coping.
Suicide is very final - if you succeed in taking your life - there are no second chances and nobody really knows what will happen when they die. It may be difficult to take in at this moment in time but the feelings you have at the moment may be temporary - you may not always feel like this. There are people who have been in exactly the same position as you but who somehow found a way to survive and now thrive and have gone on to find happiness and fulfilment in life and to be able to cope with life more easily - they have found alternatives to suicide and were glad that they did not take their own life.
You may feel like this now because the pain you are feeling has become unbearable. Just talking to someone else about how you are feeling can take some of that weight off your shoulders. There may be other things you can do to help yourself cope, to change things, to survive. It is incredibly sad that you feel so bad that you want to die. You may be telling yourself that other people would be better off without you but other people would not want you to take your life. You may feel that nobody cares about you anyway but there are people who will care if you allow them to care for you. I care deeply that you are thinking of ending your life, that you see no hope, no alternative, but something so final as death. You may be trying to convince yourself that your loved ones would be better off without you but if you were able to see the devastation that it causes families and friends of people who take their own lives you would not think that.
If you cannot see for yourself a reason to carry on living try and give others the chance to explore with you whether they can help you to see if there are any reasons for you to carry on living - give someone a chance to do that for you. You have nothing to lose. If you are determined to kill yourself there is no hurry - there is no need to take immediate action. Give yourself the next few days to see whether there are any alternatives, talk to a friend, a relative, a helpline, a counsellor, look at some of the websites where other people have felt suicidal but found alternatives to killing themselves. There are alternatives to suicide so give yourself some time to find some support, some help with coping and talk to others about how you are really feeling. Allow others to care for you just as you would if your best friend came and told you he/she was suicidal - talk to yourself as you would a friend.
If you think that someone may be feeling suicidal, encourage them to talk about how they are feeling. You may feel uncomfortable talking about suicidal feelings. You may not know what to say. This is entirely normal and understandable.
It might help to:
If you are not sure that someone is feeling suicidal, ask:
“Are you thinking about suicide?” or
“Are you having thoughts of ending your life?”
These questions are direct. It is better to address the person’s feelings directly rather than avoiding the issue. Asking about suicide won’t make it more likely to happen.
When someone tells you that they are feeling suicidal your response may be to:
These responses are unlikely to be helpful. They may make someone feel:
Talking about suicide can be a plea for help. Don’t assume that someone wont attempt to take their own life if they talk about suicide. Always take suicidal feelings seriously.
If you talk to someone about their feelings and it seems as though they want to end their life soon, try to keep them safe in the short term.
How do I keep them safe?
It is unlikely that you will be able to make their feelings go away, but you can help them by:
The removal of items will depend on what their immediate plan is to end their life. Examples include:
A crisis plan is sometimes called a safety plan. Ideally a crisis plan should be made before someone is in crisis, but it is never too late to start.
If someone is being supported by a care coordinator, they should already have a crisis plan in place. You can ask them to show you their crisis plan. But it is their choice if they show you or not.
The aim of a crisis plan is to think about what support someone needs when they are in crisis. This may include:
Distraction techniques can include:
There is no set way for how a crisis plan should look but here is a crisis plan template.
Depending on the needs of the person you’re supporting, they might find different services useful. Sometimes, it can be important to recognise the limit of the support you can offer as a friend, and reach out for professional help.
If someone is feeling suicidal it is a good idea for them to talk to a doctor, who can suggest therapy and/or medication that might be helpful. They can find their local GP practice using the links below, depending on where they are living. Some GP practices offer emergency appointments.
In the UK, you can call NHS 111 by dialling 111 if the person you’re with is unwell or hurt but in a way that is not life-threatening.
We’ve compiled a list of specialist services in the UK and Ireland. Depending on the situation of the person you’re supporting, these might be able to offer them tailored support. For example, they might benefit from support for domestic violence, alcohol abuse or loneliness.
Every type of grief has the potential to cause intense and complex feelings, but research shows that people bereaved by suicide can have a particularly complex set of feelings and can experience additional struggles and dilemmas in trying to resolve their grief. Feelings you might experience when you lose someone to suicide include intense sadness, shock, anger, frustration, confusion and isolation. Some people also talk about experiencing a sense of shame or guilt, and while this is a very common reaction it is important to remember that people who take their own lives are often trying to stop feelings of distress that can feel as intense and real as physical pain - the reasons for suicide are complex and you are not to blame.
Who is affected by a suicide?
Suicide can have a ripple effect, extending well beyond the person's immediate family and friends. How you are affected will depend on your relationship to the person who has died, the strength of the attachment and the circumstances around the death. While losing someone close to you to suicide can be an extremely painful and emotionally complex experience, you may find that you are also affected if someone you know less well has taken their life. If you feel affected by a suicide, there are organisations that can help. Talking through difficult emotions and talking about the person who died can be helpful in processing the loss.
What help is available?
Many people bereaved by suicide find that they need more specific support than that provided for bereavement in general and can find it particularly valuable to make use of support groups that are especially designed for people bereaved by suicide. In addition to the support options mentioned on our support and self-care page, you might like to consider the following:
Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SOBS) are a great source of support for people who have been bereaved by suicide. See the SOBS website for details of their helpline, local support groups and many more practical resources. Cruse Bereavement Care also has some suggestions for further reading and support for people who have lost a loved one to suicide. See Cruse's website for more information on traumatic bereavement and suicide, including support if you live in Wales.
One of the keys to a better version of you, mentally and physically, is sleeping well. We want all of our industry members to sleep as well as they can that’s why EIC have partnered with Sleepstation. Sleepstation is a clinically validated sleep improvement programme that can help you learn how to control and optimise your sleep to get the best sleep possible. Designed by experts and backed by science, the online service is proven to combat even the most severe insomnia. Their team will help you identify the underlying causes of your sleep problem and provide the personal support and guidance needed to improve your sleep. Sleepstation delivers remote care with a personal touch and that's what makes it so effective. Therapeutic support through Sleepstation is available to those in need and meeting our charity eligibility criteria.