Work can be stressful and, considering that many people spend most of their week at work, an unhappy working environment can lead you to feel down very quickly.

International Happiness at Work Week encourages everyone to sign a manifesto suggesting work can be a supportive, creative, fun and positive environment where employees take responsibility but also promote good feedback and support for each other.

Many people that contact HOPELINE247 share that workplace stress or unhappiness at work directly contributes to thoughts of suicide. Some work environments are not healthy places to be in due to team dynamics, huge workload, unrealistic targets, lack of appreciation or a lack of creative opportunity. Over time such environments may become toxic and can erode a person’s self-esteem and self-belief that they deserve something better. If this occurs, a person may feel trapped and suicide may feel like an option as a way to escape this feeling.

If work is making you think about suicide – reach out for help. HOPELINE247 offers confidential support and advice for those feeling suicidal and can support people to explore their options in staying safe from suicide for now.

While no two work places are the same, the HOPELINE247 team at PAPYRUS have some ways of trying to keep the work environment a supportive place. Many callers that speak to us suggest they believe our job must be very emotionally challenging, and sometimes this is true when supporting callers to stay safe from suicide but at PAPYRUS we recognise that the Suicide Prevention Advisers will do a far better job if they are safe and supported themselves.

So as a team we regularly organise socials outside of working hours to bond and be together. We engage in individual clinical supervision regularly as well as weekly clinical reviews where we have a chance to talk about how we feel as well as our clinical work.

We also regularly do a variety of secret gift-giving exchanges across the year – a bit like secret santa but often with different themes. One year rather than purchased gift-giving, all advisers were asked to write something positive they like about each and every other adviser on the team. We collated these statements together resulting in everyone having a collection of positive statements written about us by our peers.

The impact of this exercise remains to this day. It brought the team closer together and also led us to really reflect on the positive aspects of each other. It was an emotional experience too – with every adviser knowing they were valued and their skills respected.

We share this not to say our workplace is perfect, nowhere is. However acknowledging each other, valuing and sharing positive things and what we admire about each other is something every workplace could do. It made a huge difference to our team and there’s no reason it couldn’t help other workplaces too.

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