The national suicide prevention charity The Baton of Hope, whose aim is to facilitate a zero-suicide society, will launch the Workplace Pledge at its first national conference on May 16th.

The Workplace Pledge is a comprehensive and practical guide for leaders and HR professionals about what organisations can and should be doing to help prevent death by suicide.

Each year more than 6,000 people across the UK take their own lives – one person every 90 minutes. It is the biggest killer of men under 50 in the UK. The World Health Organisation estimates that 135 people are affected by each death. That means more than 800,000 people every year in the UK are affected by suicide.

These grim statistics have remained stagnant for more than 15 years, yet expert clinicians agree that the majority of suicides are preventable.

The Baton of Hope founder, Mike McCarthy, who tragically lost his son Ross to suicide in 2021, urges that we cannot turn a blind eye to the national catastrophe of suicide any longer. He emphasises that if a similar death toll were caused by any other physical illness, it would rightly trigger a national outcry.

McCarthy commented:

Unlike the openness surrounding conditions such as cancer or heart disease, ‘admitting’ to thoughts of suicide is often met with shame and stigma. While physical ailments are accepted without question as valid reasons for time off work, mental health struggles are still concealed behind fabricated stories.

Mike McCarthy, The Baton of Hope founder

The Baton of Hope conference, titled ‘Making Suicide Everyone’s Business,’ aims to mobilise businesses, organisations and individuals across the UK to take action.

Featuring speakers including former political spin doctor Alastair Campbell and world-renowned suicide prevention expert Professor Rory O’Connor, the event is a call to arms against a crisis that affects us all.

It will bring together organisations and individuals passionate about effecting change around suicide prevention from all corners of the UK.

The event is open to all and tickets are available at

The Workplace Pledge offers a framework to guide organisations toward comprehensive suicide prevention. This involves raising awareness, providing support resources, and prioritising mental wellbeing within the workplace.  It’s six key principles are:

  1. Prioritise suicide awareness, prevention, and support in the workplace.
  2. Provide clear messaging on suicide in communications and training.
  3. Offer suicide prevention resources and early intervention support.
  4. Champion those with lived experience of mental health challenges.
  5. Promote crisis services and support resources.
  6. Actively spread the message of the pledge to amplify its impact.

McCarthy concludes:

While organisations and individuals are overwhelmingly keen to help address this complicated issue, they are often hesitant to act for fear of making things worse.  The Workplace Pledge gives organisations a toolkit to enable them to take action. Suicide IS preventable and every one of us is capable of generating hope.

Further information on the Workplace Pledge is available at

Editor at Workplace Wellbeing Professional | Website | + posts

Joanne is the editor for Workplace Wellbeing Professional and has a keen interest in promoting the safety and wellbeing of the global workforce. After earning a bachelor's degree in English literature and media studies, she taught English in China and Vietnam for two years. Before joining Work Well Pro, Joanne worked as a marketing coordinator for luxury property, where her responsibilities included blog writing, photography, and video creation.