Our organisation was set up in 2017 following the death of Jonathan McCartney who took his own life in October of that year. He was 35 years old. His death deeply shocked his family, friends and colleagues. Jonathan lived life to the full. He was always ready for a new challenge. At work he was a successful patent attorney. He was loyal, he was kind and he was loving. He did his best for everyone and by everyone.
Jonathan’s Voice exists to empower individuals to speak up about mental health, especially in the professional environment. Our intention is to work in partnership with organisations to raise awareness, encouraging them to create the right support structures to support employees with mental health and well-being. Jonathan’s Voice will strive to create a culture of openness in which individuals can speak about mental health challenges without fear of judgement.
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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.
We will 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 intend to initially target firms in the Intellectual Property (IP) and legal sector, owing to our current network of contacts and ability to make use of a pre-existing IP Inclusive Network.
We will seek to understand the barriers to individuals raising concerns and the recommended, best practice support structure that organisations can employ in support of their people. Our work will be informed by academic research and guided by input from experienced professionals in the field of mental health.
We expect our offer to include setting strategy, facilitating training, materials and speakers, providing links to other organizations and highlighting the characteristics of good practice where it exists. We will aim to establish a network of Advocates who will be able to speak on behalf of the Charity. We will be particularly interested to work with those people who have “lived experience” as it has been shown that their perspective can be very powerful.
We will 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. We will be open to exploiting opportunities that arise which we may not have been specifically identified in our working plan, providing they align with our purpose.
What are your current priorities?
Our priorities are to:
- encourage and spread good practice on mental health care and suicide prevention in England, particularly but not exclusively for young professionals, by identifying and collating good practice and then sharing it
- work to improve advocacy for mental wellbeing and suicide prevention in England, particularly but not exclusively for young professionals, by increasing the number of trained advocates for mental health care and suicide prevention and the number of mental health champions
- assist workplaces in England, particularly but not exclusively Intellectual Property and legal services organisations, to promote mental wellbeing and prevent the suicide of staff, by helping them to implement training, programmes and policies in their workplaces
- increase awareness of mental wellbeing and suicide prevention among the general public in England, by developing and implementing an outreach and communications strategy using a range of channels.
What challenges are you currently facing?
As a newly established charity a challenge will be to demonstrate our credibility so that organisations will engage with us. We will do this by ensuring that our activities are soundly based on relevant research and existing good practice. We will research the remit and scope of other organisations to ensure that our focus is clearly defined and does not replicate work that is already being effective.
We will ensure that governance is sound and we will rigorously evaluate the activities that we organise. We will initially work with those professional organisations with whom we have a close contact and by whom we are known, which in turn will work with us to extend our network of contacts.