How workers feeling overwhelmed has led to a rise in risk of suicide

Workers are feeling overwhelmed by the events of the past two years leading to a “terrifying” spike in the number of people at risk of suicide, according to an employment lawyer.

Charlotte Geesin, head of employment law at Howarths, says she has never encountered anything like the levels of incidents being reported by businesses the Cleckheaton-based law firm advises.

She told The Yorkshire Post: “Without sounding alarmist, I have been in practice for about 12 years and I have never come across as many instances of suicide, attempted suicide or threats of suicide as I have the past 12 to 18 months.”

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Ms Geesin says concerns have been raised across the board and it isn’t a sector specific issue.

Charlotte Geesin said: “There doesn’t seem to be any patterns in terms of sectors. It seems to be right across the board.”Charlotte Geesin said: “There doesn’t seem to be any patterns in terms of sectors. It seems to be right across the board.”
Charlotte Geesin said: “There doesn’t seem to be any patterns in terms of sectors. It seems to be right across the board.”

“There doesn’t seem to be any patterns in terms of sectors,” the employment law expert said. “It seems to be right across the board.”

She said that there was a “general feeling that everything has got a little bit too much now” with people feeling the effects of the pandemic.

Ms Geesin fears that things could get worse with Covid still casting a shadow over people’s lives.

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She said: “Covid is not going away. There’s no real light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to certain restrictions, general life is going to get harder with the cost of living increases and all that stuff.”

Businesses are being urged to have a culture of openness when it comes to discussing mental health at work by Leeds-based mental health, wellbeing and housing charity Inspire North.

Lisa Simpson, operations manager at Inspire North, said: “There is still a stigma and barriers associated with mental health. Therefore that impacts on the willingness of people to open up around their own mental health and wellbeing.”

She added: “It’s still shocking that we don’t have environments where people do feel able to talk openly and honestly around their mental health and wellbeing.”

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Mental health and wellbeing needs to be on the agenda year round and not just during occasions such as World Mental Health Day, says Ms Simpson.

“I think that we need to make that a constant,” she said. “We need to integrate those conversations into our day-to-day lives.”

Mental health services in the country are already strained and with no end in sight to the uncertainty, there is growing concern around people’s welfare.

One of the signs to look out for in people who may be struggling with mental health challenges are changes in behaviour. Ms Simpson said: “There are a number of early warning signs. It might be a change in concentration. They might be easily distracted, their day-to-day activities may be a bit of a struggle. Low mood, feeling overwhelmed by tasks or lack of energy.”

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For more information on Inspire North visit:

Changes but still a long way to go

Attitudes towards discussing mental health are changing but there is still a long way to go.

Charlotte Geesin said: “There’s still a lot of work still to be done regarding mental health in the workplace. It’s getting better. Society is getting more comfortable talking about mental health issues and we are seeing – we work with the SME market – more and more conversations being had, but I don’t think enough are being had.”

Firms can integrate conversations around mental health into team meetings to help people open up, says Lisa Simpson.


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James Mitchinson