I am off work with massive blood pressure at the moment so I thought I would just get up from reading fiction and write a post. Great to see Insight last night discuss men and suicide. Back from the Brink aired last night and you can watch it here Insight – Back from the Brink 29/07/2014
Some beautiful touching stories and amazing men sharing their pain, instead of hiding it. Dr Geoff Toogood particularly touched us as we watched it. A cardiologist who had it all by most peoples definition of success. A man who saves lives all week and then struggled with his own personal battle to take his own.
His bravery was commendable – and I liked his comments about being a better person with more empathy for his patients as a result.
Sadly it wasn’t until he had a mild stroke related to an exhaustion from just pushing on through that he got more compassion. What he had struggled with was now acceptable as it had a physical outcome.
Suicide and suicide attempts are physical outcomes too, yet workplaces and managers still run staff down for getting help for depression (and any condition that can be linked with it, like my hypertensive blood pressure). They still question doctor’s certificates and say things like “yeah but my job stresses me out too and you don’t see me taking time off”.
Depression is not stress. But prolonged stress will become depression. Pushing your staff to the brink is a failure of duty of care and creates a psycho-social hazard. Managers and organisations that do this are the hazard.
If your organisation is burning people out – it’s a clear breach of the Work Health legislations, in any state or jurisdiction. More to the point, if you don’t point out that your organisation is burning you or others out or you push others to meet unreasonable demands, you fail in your individual duty of care and you are liable under those legislations.
2000 suicides a year in Australia and about 6 x that in attempts. Men suffer the worst and the latest figures are horrendous. It’s time to get real, be honest. It’s time to care about one another and speak up for others. Why do we have to legislate duty of care for people to care?