SolutionHealth is observing World Suicide Prevention Day Sept. 10 out of concern for the mental and physical health of the victims, families, friends, colleagues and communities affected when somebody commits suicide or makes a suicide attempt.
Suicide crosses all socio-economic categories including age, ethnicity, gender, orientation and geo-political backgrounds. One in every 100 deaths worldwide is by suicide.
To support suicide prevention efforts, remember a loved one lost to suicide; or, to support survivors of suicide, light a candle and place it near a window on Friday, Sept. 10 at 8 p.m.
There is a dangerous myth that suicidal people can’t be stopped but experts dispute that, so managers who suspect suicidal tendencies in a member of their department should take action.
Warning signs include deteriorating job performance, dramatic mood changes, indifference to personal appearance, withdrawal from colleagues, giving away prized possessions; and expressing interest in end-of-life issues such as writing a will, insurance beneficiaries or funeral plans.
Suicidal risk indicators also include speaking about a future without them, talking about the hopelessness of life, or the world being better without them; and social media posts about death or hopelessness.
If managers have concerns about a colleague, they should speak with them kindly but with firmness. Don’t worry about overstepping boundaries because an open conversation may be the first step in a healing process.
Let the colleague know they are cared for as a person; listen to their concerns and try to understand the depth of their feelings; don’t leave the person alone, either on the phone or in person; don’t debate the issue of suicide; don’t minimize their problems or give advice; if problems are work-related, offer to address them and then follow through on your promise; do not pry into their personal problems but listen to them if they offer to share; and with the employee’s consent, call the Employee Assistance Program, your community’s crisis intervention, or suicide prevention helpline on their behalf.
If the situation is urgent, notify your manager or the Human Resources Department.
Don’t try to solve the employee’s problems. Your role is to listen and show you understand their problems are real and painful, then to guide them to someone who can provide meaningful help.
Professional counselors with CCA@YourService are available to offer free and confidential help to anyone considering suicide by telephoning 800.833.8707; or, for more information log onto myccaonline.com and when prompted for the company code type in SH-EAP.