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Have you checked in on your mental health?

Jacobs

4 min read Partner content

Mental health affects us all. In the time it will take you to read this article, one person on average will have chosen to end their own life. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates there are currently more than 700,000 suicides a year worldwide, and for each suicide there are more than 20 suicide attempts. Every suicide is a tragedy that profoundly affects families, friends, colleagues and communities.

Although mental health remains one of the leading causes of death and disability across the world, too often in society we fail to address it, talk about it, or invest in preventing it. No individual company, government or community can end this global pandemic on their own – but by making a stand together we can create a sea change in how we approach mental health in society.

This Suicide Prevention Week focuses on encouraging people to talk about mental health and suicide and raising awareness about suicide prevention. It’s an opportunity and reminder for people to hit pause for a moment and come together to check-in on their mental health.

“Most of us would not hesitate to go to the doctor for regular tests and check-ups if we had concerns about our physical health,” says Paul Hendry, Global Vice President of Health, Safety and Environment at Jacobs, a technical consultancy supporting critical infrastructure projects across the U.K. and globally. “But when is the last time you had a mental health check-up? We often only seek help with our mental health when we’re already in crisis.”

Jacobs, as an organisation involved in the delivery of some of the U.K.’s largest infrastructure programmes, recognizes that those in the construction industry suffer with poorer mental health and increased risk of suicide than in other industries. Wanting to support those at greater risk was one of the driving factors for Jacobs to develop the free mental health check-in tool, One Million Lives, to help enhance users' understanding of their current state of mind and provide proactive strategies for personal mental health development. Available for free, the tool is accessible to everyone — no matter where they live, who they are or what organisation they work for.

“We recognised that the lives of our employees’ family and friends can impact the day-to-day lives of our employees, so we wanted this to be a free resource for all to use and share,” Hendry continues. “Our goal with One Million Lives is to break down the barriers that hinder honest conversations about mental health and encourage an open culture of support. By completing a regular check-in, people will ideally be better equipped to assess early indicators of challenges, start positive and active conversations, get support much earlier, and develop appropriate coping mechanisms and resiliency.”

To raise awareness about prioritizing mental health and resilience, this week Liz Twist MP invited Jacobs to host a drop-in session for MPs, to learn more about resources like the free One Million Lives mental health check-in tool and other online resources and support that charity R;pple and organisation Make A Difference Media provide.

A passionate campaigner on suicide prevention, Twist says: “Every suicide is a tragedy, and most often a complex one with no single cause. However, statistics do show that middle-aged men, particularly those in the construction sector, are some of the most at risk. It was therefore encouraging to see so many colleagues attend the parliamentary drop-in session I hosted this week with Jacobs and charity R;pple and Make A Difference (MAD) to raise awareness during Suicide Prevention Week and learn more about services available to those who are struggling.”

“It has also been good to see the issues within the construction sector being recognised within the new National Suicide Prevention Strategy,” she explains. “I am pleased to see more organisations focusing on the importance of positive mental health as a step to preventing suicide and I urge colleagues and constituents of mine to look at services such as the One Million Lives app and to check-in on your mental health.”

“One Million Lives is about giving people the courage to start a conversation around mental health and even suicide,” adds Hendry. “This is the real-life impact of the campaign.”

Jacobs collaborates with other organizations that provide mental health tools and support resources, including R;pple, the suicide prevention charity and Make A Difference Media.

Next month, on October 10, to coincide with World Mental Health Day, Jacobs is encouraging likeminded people and organisations to join them in touching One Million Lives and come together as one to take part in the ’World’s Biggest Mental Health Check-in’, using One Million Lives to check-in on their mental health.


If you would like more information to share in your community, check out the tools and support at www.oml.world, www.ripplesuicideprevention.com and www.makeadifference.media.

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