Suicide Awareness and Prevention

Suicide rates in the U.S. continue to rise every year, and suicide is one of the leading causes of preventable death in our country. The largest number of suicides occur among those in the working age population. The isolation of remote work and the emotional strain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic could lead to a new mental health crisis in the workplace.  Following is information on suicide awareness and prevention and important links for both those at risk for suicide and those supporting a family or friend at risk.

According to The National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, for every person who dies by suicide annually, there are another 280 people who have thought seriously about suicide who don’t kill themselves, and nearly 60 who have survived a suicide attempt. The overwhelming majority of these individuals will go on to live out their lives.

The causes of suicide are complex and determined by multiple combinations of factors, such as mental illness, substance abuse, painful losses, exposure to violence, and social isolation. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is a good source for information on mental health conditions, including suicide. Their warning signs that may mean someone is at risk for suicide include:

Talking about wanting to die or kill oneself, looking for a way to kill oneself, talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live; talking about feeling trapped or being in unbearable pain; talking about being a burden to others; increasing the use of alcohol or drugs; acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly; sleeping too little or too much; withdrawing or feeling isolated; showing rage or talking about seeking revenge and displaying extreme mood swings. The risk is greater if the behavior is new, or has increased, and if it seems related to a painful event, loss, or change.

If you believe someone may be thinking about suicide:

  • Call 911, if danger for self-harm seems imminent.
  • Ask them if they are thinking about killing themselves. (This will not put the idea into their head or make it more likely that they will attempt suicide.)
  • Listen without judging and show you care.
  • Stay with the person (or make sure the person is in a private, secure place with another caring person) until you can get further help.
  • Remove any objects that could be used in a suicide attempt.
  • Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and follow their guidance.

In addition to the steps above, #BeThe1To is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s message about actions we can all take to prevent suicide. Learn about each step and why the steps are effective at: https://www.bethe1to.com/bethe1to-steps-evidence/

Here is a list of important suicide awareness and prevention resources for those in crisis, and for those surviving a loss from suicide:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-TALK (8255) 
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a 24-hour, toll-free, confidential suicide prevention hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Calls are routed to the nearest crisis center in a national network, where callers receive crisis counseling and mental health referrals.  https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

Crisis Text Line – Text HEAL to 741741.  This is free, 24/7 support for those in crisis.

Chat online:  https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/

Veterans Crisis Line – Call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1 or Text 838255. Connect with the Veterans Crisis Line to reach qualified responders with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Many of them are Veterans themselves. This free support is confidential, available every day, 24/7, and services all veterans, service members, National Guard and Reserve, and their family members and friends.

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: https://afsp.org/

Suicide Prevention Resource Center: https://www.sprc.org/

The Jason Foundation: https://jasonfoundation.com/ Geared toward youth.

The Trevor Project:  https://www.thetrevorproject.org/  Geared toward LGBTQ youth and young adults.

Support Groups and Resources for survivors: https://allianceofhope.org/, https://afsp.org/find-a-support-group/,   https://friendsforsurvival.org/, https://www.bethe1to.com/for-suicide-loss-survivors/

Having an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can be a huge asset for employees, especially during these difficult times. Fully Effective Employees provides EAP services to employers of all sizes. Give us a call to learn more at (425) 454-3003, toll-free at (800) 648-5834 or visit us online at www.fee-eap.com.

By |2020-09-02T11:13:20-07:00September 2nd, 2020|suicide|Comments Off on Suicide Awareness and Prevention

How to Help A Severely Depressed Loved One

Depressed

Suicide has been making headlines with the recent deaths of celebrities Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. Their tragic stories are not rare – suicide rates have been steadily rising in the United States.

This month, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released a report suggesting that America’s suicide rate increased by 25% between 1999 and 2016. Nearly 45,000 Americans took their own lives in 2016, making it the tenth leading cause of death overall in the U.S. While there are many reasons why people choose to end their lives, severe depression is a major one. This article from the New York Times offers expert tips on how to help a friend or family member who is struggling with depression, as well as suggestions on how to take care of yourself while helping others.

By |2019-11-02T17:51:08-07:00June 16th, 2018|depression, suicide, Uncategorized|Comments Off on How to Help A Severely Depressed Loved One

Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Every year, approximately 44,000 people die by suicide, making it the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S. According to a newly released study published in JAMA Psychiatry, suicide attempts among U.S. adults are on the rise. Middle-aged adults (aged 45-64 years) had the highest suicide rate and young adults (aged 21-34 years) had the biggest increase in suicide attempts. And, while suicide attempts were higher among women than men, more men completed suicide.

While suicide is preventable, it is a topic that many feel uncomfortable talking about, even with family and friends. It is important to know that family members, friends, coworkers and others can play an important role in recognizing when someone is at risk or in crisis and connect that person with the most appropriate sources of care. Here are the major warning signs to be aware of:

Signs of Acute Risk:

– Threatening to hurt or kill him or herself, or talking of wanting to hurt or kill him/herself; and or,

– Looking for ways to kill him/herself by seeking access to firearms, available pills, or other means; and/or,

– Talking or writing about death, dying or suicide when these actions are out of the ordinary.

Expanded Warning Signs:

– Increased substance (alcohol or drug) use

– No reason for living; no sense of purpose in life

Anxiety, agitation, unable to sleep or sleeping all of the time

– Feeling trapped – like there’s no way out

Hopelessness

Withdrawal from friends, family and society

– Rage, uncontrolled anger, seeking revenge

– Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities, seemingly without thinking

– Dramatic mood changes

Suicide Prevention Awareness Month reminds us that suicide deaths can be prevented. According to the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, for every one person who dies by suicide in the U.S., there are approximately 278 people who move past serious thoughts of suicide and nearly 60 who have survived a suicide attempt. The overwhelming majority of these people will go on to live out their lives.

If you or a loved one is experiencing a mental health crisis or thoughts of suicide, help is available 24/7 through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK, or go to your nearest emergency room.

For more information about counseling and resources contact the EAP at 425-454-3003 or 1-800-648-5834.

By |2018-06-18T10:53:25-07:00September 16th, 2017|suicide, Uncategorized|Comments Off on Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

Preventing & Coping With Employee Suicide

Stressed BusinesswomanFor 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:

  • Vocal and visible leadership that can emphasize the importance of suicide prevention while modeling mental wellness and self-care;
  • Policies and procedures that promote a mentally healthy workforce- including fair and compassionate reintegration policies, life skills promotion, and a culture of belonging.
  •  Suicide prevention training for the workforce that help employers  to identify warning signs and risk factors; to know how to ask about suicide; and to confidently refer high risk people to the appropriate resources.
  • Screening the workforce for early signs of depression and other mental health conditions, so that these illnesses do not become life threatening.
  • Access to quality mental health services to ensure that those who need help receive appropriate highly qualified care with few obstacles.
  • Means restriction that place barriers between high risk people and lethal means of suicide (e.g restricting high roof access on tall office buildings, securing lethal chemicals, etc)
  • Crisis response and longterm postvention that seeks to stabilize a grieving and traumatized workforce and to honor bereavement needs.

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:

www.carsonjspencer.org

www.suicidepreventionhotline.org

www.save.org

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.

By |2017-06-05T13:19:16-07:00June 17th, 2013|critical incident debriefing, Employee Assistance, employee death, employee mental health, Human Resources, mental health, Protected, suicide|Comments Off on Preventing & Coping With Employee Suicide