Our organisation was set up in 2017 following the tragic death of Jonathan McCartney who took his own life in October of that year. He was 35 years old. Jonathan was a successful patent attorney. His sudden and unexpected death deeply shocked his family, friends and colleagues. He cared deeply about other people and their needs, always being ready to listen and offer support.
Jonathan’s Voice exists to empower individuals to speak out about mental health, especially in the professional environment. We work in partnership with groups and organisations, particularly in the intellectual property sector to raise awareness and support them to create a mentally healthy workplace. Jonathan’s Voice strives to create a culture of openness in which individuals can speak freely about mental health challenges without fear of judgement.
How does your organisation contribute to preventing suicide and supporting those affected by it?
Our overriding objective is to reduce the incidence of suicide by creating an environment where individuals feel able to speak out and receive help and support when they need it.
We work within the professional environment with an initial focus on the professional services sector, to encourage a culture in which issues of mental health can be shared and supported in a non-judgemental climate of openness.
We seek to understand the barriers to individuals raising concerns and the best practice support structure that organisations can employ to support their people. Our work is informed by academic research and guided by input from experienced professionals in the field of mental health.
We financially support research into suicidal behaviour and embed the findings in our practice.
Our offer includes assisting in setting a mental health strategy, facilitating training and providing materials created by Jonathan’s Voice that are bespoke to the profession. We can also provide speakers, links to other organizations and highlight the characteristics of good practice. We are particularly interested in working alongside those people who have “lived experience” as it has been shown that their perspective is very powerful.
We work in collaboration and cooperation with other charities that share our primary objective when we judge this to be in the best interests of furthering our aims. These include the Charlie Waller Trust and LawCare. We are open to exploiting opportunities that arise providing they align with our core purpose.
What are your current priorities?
Our priorities are to:
– Encourage and spread good practice on mental health care and suicide prevention, particularly but not exclusively for young professionals, by identifying and collating good practice and then sharing it
– Work to improve advocacy and support for mental wellbeing and suicide prevention, particularly but not exclusively for young professionals, by increasing the number of mental health first aiders and mental health champions
– Assist workplaces in the ways described above, particularly but not exclusively in intellectual property and legal services organisations, to create mentally healthy workplaces that promote mental wellbeing and prevent suicidal thoughts and the suicide of their people
– Increase awareness of mental wellbeing and suicide prevention among the general public, through an outreach and communications strategy using a range of social media and other channels.
What challenges are you currently facing?
Jonathan’s Voice has now been established for over three years and has credibility and a high profile in the intellectual property sector. We have produced a range of resources, including bespoke evidence-based guides. These have been very well received.
The challenge is to engage with key leaders and managers to develop a genuine culture of mental health and wellbeing that is integral to the organization and embedded in everything it does. Our work is informed by the Core Standards as identified in the Stevenson Farmer Review.
Jonathan’s Voice part funds the research of a PhD student at the Suicidal Behaviour Lab at the University of Glasgow. A further challenge is to ensure that we effectively disseminate the outcomes of that research to inform practice.