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.