BeyondZero BeyondZero
News Sep 14, 2023

Have You Checked in on Your Mental Health?

By encouraging people to talk about mental health and suicide awareness, we can open up conversations and better support each other to cope and stay well.

 Be part of the ripple

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.

This Suicide Prevention Week focuses on encouraging people to talk about mental health and suicide awareness and 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 Jacobs Global Vice President of Health, Safety and Environment Paul Hendry. “But when was 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.”

In 2020, Jacobs developed a free mental health check-in tool called 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 the organization for which they work.

“We recognized 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,” continues Paul. “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 U.K. Member of Parliament (MP) Liz Twist 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 organization Make A Difference Media provide.

A passionate campaigner on suicide prevention, Liz 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 recognized within the new National Suicide Prevention Strategy,” she explains. “I am pleased to see more organizations 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.”

10 Tips to Building Better Mental Health Resiliency

  1. Increase daily activities. Becoming more active through even small activities which give you a sense of achievement and enjoyment each day can be a good start.
  2. Exercise. Exercise brings out the body’s endorphins, natural painkillers and pleasure-producing substances produced inside every one of us. This can even be a short walk outside in nature.
  3. Eat well. A healthy diet has positive impacts on mental health as well as your body and increases a sense of well-being. This includes reducing alcohol and coffee.
  4. Social support. Being able to call on support is a large factor for coping with anxiety. We do not need to be able to “do it all ourselves”. Even if you can’t solve the problem by talking about it, naming what is bothering you in itself changes brain activity for the better.
  5. Take Notice. Being aware of what is taking place in the present directly enhances your well-being. Take some time to enjoy the moment and the environment around you.
  6. Identify unhelpful thinking habits. We tend to get into unhelpful thinking habits. Once you can notice them, that can help you to challenge or distance yourself from those thoughts and see the situation in a different and more helpful way.
  7. Focus on times when you have overcome your anxiety in the past. Find out what works and do more of it.
  8. Sleep. Whether you’re sleeping too little or too much, your mood suffers. Aim for a healthy sleep schedule.
  9. Find help. You don’t have to find a path through this by yourself. Everyone gets stuck from time to time and can benefit from assistance to help get back on track. If you need help now, these services are available for support. They are confidential, free to use and available 24/7.
  10. Keep learning via reading, ebooks, podcasts or online courses. Sometimes taking the mystery out of mental health and understanding how many people get themselves well again is a great start.
One Million Lives by Jacobs It's time to check-in together

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. 

R;pple was set up by Alice Hendy to ensure more help and support is given to individuals searching for harmful content online. The digital tool can be downloaded as a browser extension. If a user searches for harmful content online, they will be guided through a series of practical support, strategies and mental health services they can access.

Make A Difference Media provides a global learning space for employers looking to adopt, embed and evolve inclusive, preventative strategies that will have a sustainable impact on mental, physical, financial and social wellbeing as well as on workplace culture and environment.

On October 10, you can also take part in the “World’s Biggest Mental Health Check-in” and join thousands of people in a global day of action for positive mental health. Take a few minutes to check in on your mental health using an online check-in tool like One Million Lives, and encourage family, friends and networks to check in too.