From 2007-18, more than 2,800 suicides occurred in the workplace, an average of 284 each year.
This is in addition to the approximately 44,000 nonoccupational suicides that occur in the U.S. each year. EHS professionals can take steps to foster a more open and supportive work environment where people are more willing and able to discuss this difficult and personal subject, and the risk factors that lead to it.
In an ASSP Professional Safety journal article titled “Workplace Suicide Prevention”, different methods are discussed to help prevent suicide among your workers.
Institute Wellness Programs and Committees
Wellness programs aim to meet the physical, mental, occupational, emotional and spiritual needs of the workforce and are designed to foster an environment that supports healthy and positive behaviors
Provide Support Groups
Findings from a 2018 study by the National Institute of Mental Health suggest that “acknowledging and talking about suicide may in fact reduce rather than increase suicidal thoughts.”
Help Employees Achieve a Work-Life Balance
A 2017 study found that a healthy work-life balance may help reduce stress and increase job satisfaction, performance and productivity. Encourage employees to take advantage of paid time off and to take breaks throughout the day. Integrating these benefits into organizational policies and programs, as well as setting an example by adopting this type of lifestyle, further demonstrates your commitment to creating a work-life balance.
Raise Awareness of Warning Signs
Train employees to recognize the warning signs and symptoms that someone may be contemplating suicide: mood swings, social isolation, feeling of being a burden to others, a change in eating or sleeping habits and increased use of drugs or alcohol.
Use Your Employee Assistance Program
Integrating suicide prevention measures into your EAP can help your organization address mental health and wellness, provide access to mental health professionals or mental health advocates, develop a mental health support plan, raise awareness of warning signs and prevention strategies, and identify steps to intervene when someone is identified as having poor mental health or thoughts of suicide.