By Juliet Guerra, NADA Director of Media Relations

Suicide isn’t something we talk about in the automotive retail space frequently; however, given the struggles our world is facing due to the coronavirus pandemic, it is an important time to add mental health and suicide prevention to the conversation around recovery.

Sept. 10 marks International Association for Suicide Prevention’s (IASP) Suicide Prevention Day, a day dedicated to providing a forum for all to prevent suicide and mitigate its impact on those it touches. To commemorate Suicide Prevention Day, NADA is hosting a webinar, Be Nice: Mental Illness and Suicide Prevention Action Plan, presented by Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan executive director Christy Buck and Elhart Automotive Campus playground director Jeff Elhart.

Suicide prevention is a cause that is near and dear to Elhart’s heart. On March 27, 2015 Elhart’s brother took his own life after suffering from depression. Turning his loss into action, Elhart became an advocate for mental health awareness collaborating with the Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan (MHF) on be nice, a source for mental health and suicide prevention education to improve and save lives. The tool, which stands for notice, invite, challenge and empower, is the “stop, drop and roll” of mental health.

“Oftentimes, our organization is the catalyst for a positive impact after a tragic loss,” said Buck, who founded the be nice Program and Action Plan in 2010. “Our education program is an upstream approach to protecting the mental health of our communities. It equips individuals in schools, the workplace, and faith institutions with the confidence to take action when they notice a mental health change or crisis.”  

“Anxiety and depression within Americans and people worldwide is growing at an alarming rate given the uncertainty, the isolation and new ways of social connection that is taking place,” said Elhart. “Mental illness is treatable. Suicide is preventable. This however only can happen with education on mental illness awareness and suicide prevention.”

During their webinar, Buck and Elhart will share insights for dealers to enhance their business culture with a simple action plan based on the scientific and evidence-based be nice tool.

“Given today’s pandemic it is critical for leaders to recognize the warning signs of anxiety and depression,” added Elhart. “Save a life. Be nice. You’ll be amazed when you bring be nice. into your workplace how your employee engagement is enhanced.”

The Be Nice: Mental Illness and Suicide Prevention Action Plan webinar will be held on Thursday, Sept. 10 from 1-2pm ET. Register for the webinar here and for more resources on the be nice website and on IASP’s website.

Posted by NADA

National Automobile Dealers Association