Group risk products could be better deployed in the workplace according to the UK industry body, Group Risk Development (GRiD), ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day.

With World Suicide Prevention Day approaching on 10 September, GRiD is reminding employers to utilise the full suite of services available via group risk products to support staff at difficult times in their lives.

Tragically, some 6,000 people die by suicide each year in the UK – an average of 16 people per day.

GriD said while suicide prevention is not a primary reason for purchasing group risk products, the inherent services offered by insurers may not always be well enough understood or communicated by employers.

The industry body said they may be under-utilised by employees when they need them most. Some of these services could be a vital lifeline for individuals who are having suicidal thoughts, have mental health problems or who are suffering with intolerable stress, anxiety or depression.

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For example, GriD said products that provide a level of financial support and that relieve money worries during times of long-term illness also provide rehabilitation support and help employees get back to health, reducing their time away from work and the associated impact on the employer.

It added that employee assistance programmes are often attached to group risk products and offer employees access to professional counselling and practical advice and support, including issues such as debt management, relationship problems or health matters.

Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD, said: “Group risk products may be typically associated with helping pick up the pieces after an extraordinary life-changing event but, in fact, they also offer a remarkable number of inherent services that are extremely useful to support both the employer and employee during difficult times.

“What’s particularly good news for employers is that group risk providers are continually adding to the range of additional services they include in policies, so the list of extra benefits is likely to keeping growing.”

She added: “Often, individuals with suicidal feelings may think others would not understand their problems or feel unable to raise any issues with close family, friends or colleagues. Group risk support services could just provide that absolutely crucial support for someone in desperate need and so employers would be wise to promote the added benefits and not just the financial aspect of these products.”