World Suicide Prevention Day - 10 September

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Posted by: Emma Hurt | Last modified on 10/09/2019

A comprehensive guidance for retail and placemaking

The World Health Organisation estimates that over 800,000 people take their own life each year. That's one person every 40 seconds.


This year's theme for World Suicide Prevention Day is working together to prevent suicide. In light of this, we have spent the last six months developing a cohesive suicide awareness framework for the retail and placemaking community.


Protecting people at risk is a multi-faceted, multi-agency issue. We have worked closely with Samaritans to bring together best practice from across our industry to develop this guidance. We hope it will help support staff members on-site by arming them with the knowledge and understanding to help vulnerable people, identify physical solutions that work and determine what steps to take when an incident occurs.


"Hello... how are you today?"

It's a simple question and polite inquiry to which many would reply "I'm fine, thank you for asking". But for someone who is in a dark place and intending to end their life, this question could make all the difference to their thoughts. It could, momentarily, break the cycle of downward thought, giving that person a chance to rethink their next step. They might then ask for help or seek the opportunity for professional support.


The power of a simple "hello" should not be underestimated. It is a powerful tool and is one of the key messages from the Revo Vulnerable People: Suicide Awareness and Prevention guidance. ‘The power of hello’ training is CPNI (Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure) developed and delivered freely. It helps on-site staff not only to recognise vulnerable people, but can also help protect your site against visitors with nefarious intentions. Huge impact, low cost; an easy win.


Support for everyone

Over the last six months, we listened to members talk openly about how they have been affected after witnessing a suicide. In every case, we listened to how these traumatic experiences have helped shape lives, and built a desire to help others, to improve safety and support others through similar experiences.


One third of suicides happen in public places. From talking to our members about suicides and suicide attempts, we know that this happens in our retail places. Likewise, that first responders are security officers. The effects on their emotional wellbeing in the days, weeks, months and even years thereafter should not be underestimated. Immediate postvention support for all staff must be a priority. Security officers, CCTV controllers, centre management, cleaners – it is our recommendation that postvention support must be offered to anyone who witnessed or was involved.

Measuring impact

Our industry is a responsible one. We responded to our members call to action to create a comprehensive suicide awareness framework for our industry. We worked with the Revo Vulnerable People Working Group and Samaritans to bring together broad components, including:

  • interventions
  • physical solutions
  • staff welfare
  • media guidelines and
  • legal implications of a Prevention of Future Deaths Notice.


Our call to action is for you to take one key message from the guidance, and use it, whether it's:

  • training staff as mental health first aiders
  • reviewing existing physical barriers
  • checking what support for staff is in place if a suicide or attempted suicide occurs or
  • adopting the power of hello


Although we hope you will never have to use them, these changes can make a difference. This is an important issue to Revo members, and to further this area, we are exploring a training proposition for potential delivery in 2020.


Hear more on this area at our upcoming Safety & Security Conference, 9 October.


Creating a supportive workforce

Public Health England, Business in the Community and Samaritans developed toolkits to help organisations with thinking about suicide prevention:

Reducing the risk of suicide

Crisis management in the event of a suicide


The Charlie Waller Memorial Trust has a variety of resources for employers:

Mental health resources for employers


Samaritans have developed an e-learning module teaching employees the how to look after their wellbeing and look out for others, before they reach crisis point:


Wellbeing in the workplace


At Revo, we support the people and businesses involved in the diverse world of retail property and placemaking to thrive and prosper. Get in touch to find out more.