It's ok to be 'not ok'

(13-09-2021) September 10 was World Suicide Prevention Day, on which suicide prevention is brought to the attention worldwide. Within Ghent University and Trustpunt we also use this to reflect on the subject of suicide and the importance of mental well-being.

In order to further break the taboo surrounding suicide and mental well-being, Ghent University wants to actively focus on further shaping a fully integrated suicide policy in the coming year. The intention is first and foremost to lower the barrier to talk about suicide and mental problems. We want to be an organization where every employee can find a safe interlocutor when needed. Where it's totally OK to be not OK for once. We don't shy away from addressing a colleague who is visibly having difficulty.

That is not obvious: many of us were not given the tools to talk about emotions and difficulties. We often hear it: 'I do want to start a conversation, but how do I go about that?' We want to raise awareness and raise awareness about this. We also want to correct a number of persistent misunderstandings about suicide and replace them with well-founded and reliable knowledge about the subject. We want to get this information to as many employees as possible in the coming year, so that one-liners that are not helpful are avoided.

On the other hand, from Trustpunt we want to continue to devote ourselves with great drive to further shaping a strong psychosocial welfare policy. In doing so, we want to focus on the prevention of psychosocial risks on the one hand, but also on the stimulation of psychosocial resources on the other. Well-being is after all more than the absence of mental difficulties. Well-being is also about the presence of factors that motivate and enthuse employees. Some examples of such resources are social support, being able to participate in interesting projects and development opportunities.

We hope that the whole spectrum of human experiences can be discussed more openly: from very difficult emotions and life difficulties to feelings of enthusiasm, passion and flow. We all experience them at one time or another and we believe it is important that each part of the spectrum receives the attention and care it deserves.

If you need a conversation about well-being at work after reading this article, you can contact Trustpunt for a confidential conversation. This can be done via trustpunt@ugent.be. Would you like a free and completely anonymous conversation about experienced life difficulties? Then you can call 1813 (suicide line) or 106 (tele reception). You can also chat anonymously via their website.