The Center for Disease Control and Prevention said that the U.S. suicide rates are the highest since World War II. In the workplace, it is said in a Forbes article that 270 U.S. employees killed themselves at work in 2013. It is important that the workplace, as well as employees, are aware of the signs of suicide among their co-workers and that prevention training is done to ensure that the suicide statistics in the workplace decrease less and less.
What Leads to Workplace Suicide
The American Institute of Stress says that 46% of employees experience excessive workload and 28% have interpersonal issues. Most employees who attempt or commit suicide have underlying mental illness issues that have not been addressed. It can be the final straw for an employee if they get fired or passed for a promotion, especially if they already are experiencing anxiety, depression, or substance abuse. The signs of suicide can be isolation at work, poor job performance, personality changes, or previous suicide attempts or threats. Employees may be feeling hopeless, depressed, burnt out, not showing up at work, or lack of interest in the job.
It is important that Human Resources is aware of the signs of suicide and suicidal ideation. If you feel in your workplace that the subject of suicide is hardly spoken about or acknowledged, speak to someone of higher authority to do more about prevention techniques. With the right training, you will be able to tell the signs and intervene to make sure a vulnerable employee gets help. If a suicidal employee keeps themselves isolated, no one will know that they are crying for help on the inside. Training will teach employees to keep the workplace a judgment-free zone to avoid any employee from being pushed over the edge.
Take Threats or Attempts Seriously
It is best that if any employee says that they will kill themselves or they want to die, do not dispute those threats as dramatic. When someone makes a threat or an attempt, they are hoping that someone hears their cry and helps them. That there must be something gravely wrong if they feel suicide is the only way out. Never leave that person alone and be compassionate, understanding, and sympathetic to their problems. Inform someone in authority immediately. If you or anyone else you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.
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