16 Mar Suicide Awareness and How Your EAP Can Help
Suicidal thoughts, like other mental health conditions, can affect anyone. While it can be hard to wrap our minds around, suicide is a real and rising issue in the workplace. It’s important for employers to be aware of this devastating reality. We will explore current statistics, suicidal warning signs, and what to do as an employer. The last thing we’ll cover is how EAP counseling can help to prevent suicide and create stronger mental/emotional health for your team. Suicide awareness is vital in today’s culture. Let’s be informed and fight this together.
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death—2x as many deaths as homicides.
America’s suicide rate has increased at an alarming rate. It’s become a prevalent issue for many businesses and employers. According to the Bureau of Labor of Statistics, there were 304 workplace suicides in 2018—an 11 percent increase from 2017 and the highest since the bureau started tracking the data 26 years ago. Outside of the workplace, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death—2x as many deaths as homicides. In 2017, over 47,000 people commited suicide, with 1.4 million overall attempts.
- Male (35-49) – age, gender, gene pool/family history
- Social isolation (loss of spouse/separation/divorce), hopelessness, feeling trapped, overwhelmed
- Financial stress
- Alcohol, mental health, narcotic use, drug abuse
- Feelings of sadness
- Loss of interest in once-enjoyed activities (hobbies, sex, etc.)
- Changes in appetite or weight
- Changes in sleeping patterns
- Loss of energy or feeling tired
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Repeated thoughts of death or suicide
Suicidal Warning Signs
As an employer, the more you are aware of the warning signs, the more effective you can be at helping your employees who struggle with suicidal thoughts/depression. Here are some things to notice about your employees’ behavior.
- Talking about:
- Wanting to die or end it all
- Wrapping up life affairs, i.e., giving away belongings, paying off all debts, saying goodbye
- Feeling hopeless, trapped, a burden, isolated, empty
- Increased alcohol, drug abuse/misuse
- May mention details of self-harm/plans
- A sense of relief that they have made the decision and their problems are solved
What to Do As an Employer
Now that you know the signs and statistics of suicide, what do you do as an employer if you actually recognize any of these in your employee? There are many ways to go about this next step. Suicidal behavior can be very erratic and unpredictable, but many will call for assistance before a suicide attempt. 50 percent have actually sought medical help within six months of their death. Here are some things to try when you recognize warning signs in one of your employees:
- Make an attempt to connect with the person.
- Communicate – listen first and Listen, Listen, Listen.
- Do not avoid conversations if self-harm seems possible.
- Show understanding, empathy, and listen in a nonjudgmental way.
- Make sure they are aware of the EAP counseling services available to them.
- “Are you feeling like yourself?”
- “Are you thinking of doing something?”
- “Are you having thoughts of harming yourself?”
Make a call
- Make a call – seek advice.
- Encourage the person to call a family member.
- Call the EAP for advice/consultation.
- Resist any promise of secrecy.
How an EAP Can Help
Many times, an employee assistance program has resources for employers to help their employees who have suicidal tendencies. At Care Plus Solutions, we offer EAP counseling, a program that is available 24/7, and we have a list of crisis centers for your county. If you need more information about our EAP or EAP counseling, contact our team anytime. We are happy to help your team do well and stay healthy. Mental health is important for the success of your business as well as the overall health of your employees. Let’s help fight suicide together and keep your team thriving.
Care Plus Solutions is America’s first EAP and is headquartered in New York and has offices in New Jersey. Over the course of the company’s 46 year history, their brand has remained firmly rooted in the rich history of the EAP field, never losing sight of the fundamental purpose of the EAP; delivering personal and quality services to those in need. It is fair to say that Care Plus Solutions is the gold standard in the field of Employee Assistance.
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