Employers Can Play a Critical Role in Preventing Suicide
By Kristin Tugman, PhD,CRC, LPC
VP Health and Productivity Analytics and Consulting Practice
Chances are, you or someone you know has been affected by suicide. Perhaps it was one or more of your employees or one of their friends or relatives. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide is the second-leading cause of death for those aged 10 to 34 in the United States, with states experiencing an increase in suicide rates between 1999 and 2016. Further, in half of the states, that increase was as much as 30%.
The tragedy of this crisis is shared by those combating a mental health condition personally, by those caring for someone struggling with a mental health condition, and by those who have lost someone to suicide. A Prudential study found that among its life insurance policyholders, suicide rates of dependents increased between 2008 to 2017, with a significant spike in 2012.1 Moreover, suicide is increasing among children,2,3 with attempts among children aged 5 to 18 doubling to 1.12 million between 2007 and 2015.
Coping with depression, anxiety, and loss can manifest itself in many ways, and the signs are often overlooked, particularly in the workplace. Signs of pre-suicidal behavior or someone trying to cope with a relative’s suicide are not obvious, and with much of society still viewing suicide as a selfish act, survivors, including your employees, are often unwilling to talk about it.
Prudential’s latest research report, Our Global Suicide Crisis: How the Workplace Can Respond,4 explains how by creating a transparent and open work environment, employers can do much to help those currently suffering in silence.
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