Suicide in the Workplace

Most people who die by suicide are of working age, thus the workplace can provide a good opportunity for suicide prevention efforts. Workplaces offer their employees social connections and a sense of purpose that may help to provide protective factors against suicide. In many instances workplaces already disseminate public health messages, and in some cases refer people to mental health services through Employee Assistance Programs. Co-workers often spend a great deal of time with each other and so are in a good position to recognize changes in mood and behavior.

Suicidal ideation, attempts, or deaths all affect employee morale and productivity. When a suicide occurs in the workplace, it affects everyone, and so it is important to take active measures to prevent suicide in the workplace and assist employees in learning to identify the risk factors and warning signs of suicide. The next step for the workplace is teaching employees how to respond when they notice someone exhibiting warning signs of suicide. If you are interested in learning more about the warning signs of suicide and how to intervene, or wish to schedule a training for your employees, please visit Helpline Center- Trainings.

After a Suicide

Not all suicides can be prevented and so employers should have a postvention plan in place to address policies and procedures for when an employee dies by suicide to create an environment of support and caring. After a suicide death, it is imperative that the process be handled with compassion and sensitivity. Not everyone experiences grief in the same way, it’s important to allow people the space to grieve and providing them support and resources to cope with the loss.

The Workplace Postvention Task Force of the American Association of Suicidology and The Workplace Task Force of The National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention developed “A Manager’s Guide to Suicide Postvention in the Workplace”. This resource serves as a guide to navigating the workplace after a suicide.

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