For every two homicides in the U.S there are three suicides and the majority occur within the working population, yet few employers address this public health issue. When an employee has a mental health crisis at work, it affects the financial and social functioning of the workplace.
The Carson J Spencer Foundation has created a model for suicide prevention to help workplaces develop strategies that address prevention, intervention and postvention.
These key strategies involve:
If you are concerned about an employee, call Fully Effective Employees for confidential assistance. If an employee makes a suicidal threat, it should be taken very seriously and a family member should be contacted or the employee should be taken to the nearest emergency room for an assessment.
For more information about these strategies, visit:
Source: Journal of Employee Assistance 3rd Qtr 2011
If an employee does commit suicide, it can have a profound impact on the workplace and it can be very helpful to utilize the EAP for consultation and support. We can provide a critical incident debriefing onsite to assist co-workers who were directly involved with the employee. The debriefing can help co-workers process their feelings and reactions to the news and to educate them about the normal symptoms they may be experiencing as part of their reaction to an abnormal event (trauma). There may be feelings of guilt for those that may have known the individual was suicidal. For others, it may surface unresolved loss or trauma in their own lives and even their own suicidal feelings.
Sometimes family members may not want the cause of death discussed at the workplace even though co-workers may be suspicious or know the cause. Employers may wish to set up a memorial fund, have a brief memorial or send a card to family members. This provides some closure to the surviving co-workers and reinforces the support of the employer.
It is extremely important that employers encourage employees to seek professional help for emotional problems without stigma or judgment and if they are approached by an employee who may be depressed or suicidal, that they maintain the utmost confidentiality. If you have questions about how the EAP can help with potentially suicidal employees or with the aftermath of a suicide at your workplace, please contact us.
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