Ben, the automotive industry charity, has launched a month-long suicide prevention campaign to raise awareness and highlight the support it can offer.
As part of the campaign, new support and resources are now available on Ben’s website, as well as new online training. The charity has also created a new section of its website dedicated to suicide prevention with information, advice and guidance for individuals at risk of suicide, for those worried about someone and also for employers.
According to ONS, in 2021, there were 6,567 deaths by suicide registered in the UK, with males aged between 45-49 as having the highest suicide rate in England and Wales. A total of 126 people die by suicide in the UK every week, with around 74% of those being male.
The automotive industry is male dominated (80% male, versus 20% female3) so there is potentially a greater risk and vulnerability to suicide than in other industries. Men often feel under pressure to not show signs of weakness and feel embarrassed to talk about their issues, so are less likely to seek help when struggling with their mental health. Ben said that employers therefore have a role to play in reducing the stigma around male mental health and to provide relevant support to prevent suicide.
From findings in Ben’s survey report 2023, 1 in 3 automotive workers reported having had issues managing their mental health, compared with 1 in 6 of the general UK working population.
“Sometimes, pride is a factor and men may think they can handle their problems on their own, or they worry about being a burden to others. Men are also more likely to respond to stress with risky behaviour such as abusing alcohol which increases the risk of suicide by up to eight times,” said the charity.
Ben has seen an increase in calls to its helpline for support around suicide over recent years. In 2022, Ben supported 303 individuals who disclosed they were experiencing suicidal ideation or intent. Around 7 employers each year call on the charity’s Urgent Response Service after an employee has taken their own life.
Rachel Clift, health & wellbeing director at Ben, said: “Research and statistics should give us cause for concern in our industry, coupled with the fact we currently have more people than ever requesting support. This is why it’s crucial to raise awareness about loss of life through suicide, as it’s a difficult topic to broach. We want everyone in our industry to know that Ben is there for them and urge people to get in touch for support if they’re struggling or in crisis.”
Speaking about Ben’s new suicide awareness and prevention training, Nicola Fairley at Arnold Clark said: “The suicide awareness course from Ben was a great source of knowledge on a sensitive subject for both those with no experience of dealing with these issues to those with prior training. It gave practical advice of the tools and support that can be utilised in these difficult situations.”
In addition to providing support for individuals, Ben also works with automotive industry employers to provide the following training and services:
Ben will support those who work, or have worked, in the automotive industry and their family dependents. “Don’t struggle alone, contact our helpline: 08081 311 333 or use our webchat at www.ben.org.uk. You can also access Ben’s out of hours text support line by texting BEN to 85258,” said the charity.
For more information on Ben’s training and services, email firstname.lastname@example.org.