How counselling services save lives

When an employee reached out with depression and suicidal thoughts, a treatment plan combining counselling and hospitalisation proved crucial.


According to the South African Depression and Anxiety Group, there are approximately 23 known cases of suicide in South Africa every day, and 230 serious attempts at suicide daily.

In March 2020, the Life Health Solutions Employee Wellness Programme (EWP) received a cry for help from an employee who was considering suicide, but was not yet clear on how they would carry out their plan. They reported feeling depressed, overwhelmed and lonely as a result of problems in their marriage, and shared that they’d had suicidal thoughts in the past, too.

Approach and findings

The first step was to flag this employee as high risk, due to their history of suicidal thoughts. A well-being practitioner made contact to set up an initial face-to-face counselling appointment, and the employee agreed not to attempt suicide while waiting for this sessions to take place. An emergency contact was called upon to support the employee, and a consultant checked in regularly with the employee, too.

During the first face-to-face counselling session, it came to light that the employee was struggling in both their personal and professional lives. On a personal level, infidelity was putting strain on their marriage, while at work the employee was experiencing conflict with a manager. They were having trouble functioning optimally in the work environment – increased absenteeism, poor concentration levels, missing deadlines and a general decline in productivity were reported. Overall, the employee presented as depressed, sad, anxious and with suicidal ideation.

After a second counselling session, it became clear that the employee’s suicidal thoughts had become worse. The well-being practitioner on the case arranged for the employee to be hospitalised, to keep them safe.

Upon being discharged from hospital, the employee continued with face-to-face counselling sessions designed to offer support and containment. Long-term counselling was advised and the employee went on to attend six counselling sessions.


At the end of the therapeutic treatment plan, our well-being practitioner reported that the employee was showing improvement and suggested they continue with long-term counselling. The employee shared that the counselling intervention had been helpful, that they felt contained and that they would continue with long-term counselling.

Are you concerned about the mental wellbeing of your workforce, or in need of counselling services for your employees? For more information on the Life Health Solutions Employee Wellness Programme and counselling services, SMS your name to 31581 and the Care Centre will call you back. Or email


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