Businesses should be able to recognize when their employees are at risk for suicide. Everyone should have valid access to help from within the workplace. We discuss how in this article.
Here's what you need to know about suicide prevention and other mental health topics HR needs to address:
- A business should verify that its coverage includes mental health services and financial planning.
- Resources such as Employee Assistance Programs (EAP), health providers and provisions, and local support groups should be available to all employees and easily accessible during their time of crisis.
- Given how common depression and anxiety is, it isn’t uncommon to assume some or many individuals in the workplace struggle with their mental health.
Nearly 47,000 Americans die every year from suicide. Of those individuals, 47.2% are a part of the age range of the working class. Since the worldwide pandemic, there has been a 25% increase in anxiety and depression. Studies linked back the stress factors responsible for this increase to:
- The workplace
- Lack of mental healthcare
The world’s battle and aftermath of COVID-19 persists, and employers are grappling with the mental health of their finest workers. An employee’s mental health directly affects their ability to perform, be attentive, and collaborate with others, especially at work. More time off work is spent dealing with mental health-related issues than any other illness.
It becomes more important to consider the supportive culture a company plays in the prevention of suicide deaths and other promotions of mental health in the workplace. A business depends on the mental capacity of its workers, and a community-minded and caring company thrives in various aspects.
A business depends on the mental capacity of its workers, and a community-minded and caring company thrives in various aspects.
Optimizing the workplace
Negative connotations of a workplace are key factors in employee suicide. This includes the:
- High demand for performance
- Escalated job tasks
- Debilitating physical requirements
In essence, these suicidal employees feel as though their employer is bullying them into operating under exhausting circumstances in exchange for compensation. While many jobs are taxing in various aspects, there are ways to alleviate and prevent invalidating emotions.
Validation and community
Employees who feel unconfident and burdensome in the workplace are less inclined to contribute. As a result, they cannot establish a working connection with team members. If they feel as though a resolution to their depression is futile and unimportant, they may consider taking their lives to end their suffering.
Businesses are to be social constructs. It’s essential for them to provide a sense of community and hold moral and ethical standards. This is not only for the benefit of being perceived as a friendly workplace for recruitment but to actually be one. Employees and management should always be aware of their influences on others.
Employers can fulfill their workers’ needs for socialization and connection by establishing a culture of inclusion and empowerment. They can create workshops or activities involving teams in search of like-minded goals and offer incentives on different scales to each participating party. Integrating more recognition of a person’s achievements is a great way to give them confidence and prevent the feeling of not being good enough.
Preventing burnout and managing stress
A company should explore the implications of mental break rooms designed to help employees step away from their daily stressors. Moreover, management must ensure employees don’t get burned out. They need to evaluate and deconstruct the amount of work put on an individual employee.
Team meetings should be a daily or weekly venture that allows employees to provide feedback and suggestions based on their experiences. This gives them a chance to have their voices heard and reconciled instead of feeling hopeless and helpless enough to commit suicide.
Offering a flexible work-life balance will positively affect an employee’s performance and mental health. Keeping paid time off (PTO) policies in place decreases stress and increases work performance and employee happiness. PTO gives team members a chance to:
- Get mental or physical healthcare for themselves or their children
- Handle a big list of chores
- Simply take a moment to meditate and be without work responsibility for a day
Regardless of how employees use their PTO, access to it ensures they can handle their home and family business without feeling the pressure of losing out on income.
Preventative resources and access to assistance
Businesses should be able to recognize when their employees are at risk for suicide. Everyone should have valid access to help from within the workplace. Train employees on:
- Mental health concerns
- What they can do to help their co-workers
- Knowing where to turn if they need help themselves
The workplace must be able to acknowledge when an employee is fatigued or being bullied. Suicide prevention training provides self-paced virtual learning environments designed to help overcome depression and create effective suicide prevention.
Employee assistance programs are a valuable resource
Resources such as Employee Assistance Programs (EAP), health providers and provisions, and local support groups should be available to all employees and easily accessible during their time of crisis. EAPs have helped employees with a wide variety of workplace-related assistance like:
- Substance and alcohol abuse
- Workplace violence
- Financial issues and more.
They typically come at no cost to the employee. Services are delivered in-person, over the phone, and virtually which are additional benefits for those in emergency situations.
Evaluating current healthcare plans available to employees is a good idea. A business should verify that its coverage includes mental health services and financial planning.
Prioritizing mental health in businesses is a crucial step toward making employees feel more comfortable asking for help in their time of dire need.
Prioritizing mental health in businesses is a crucial step toward making employees feel more comfortable asking for help in their time of dire need. HR should be vigilant, attentive, and quick when the faintest assumption of life-altering depression comes into play. It’s always better to get ahead of a suicide attempt than to wait for one to happen.
When all else fails
In some cases, depression is just too deep to be remedied, and the suicide of an employee can still occur. Further resources will come into light here as co-workers wrestle with their grief and shock from the loss of a colleague and possible friend.
Everyone experiences grief differently and in their own time. Providing unwavering support and complete access to all thoroughfares of assistance is necessary. HR must act with respect and privacy in the matter. They must communicate carefully to not create false information and unintentionally circulate negative assumptions about the deceased.
It’s a practice of good decorum to keep the memory of the lost employee alive. Companies must make continued efforts for suicide prevention. Continue efforts toward suicide prevention in remembrance of the deceased. These efforts must be done in good taste and with sensitivity.
Suicide is a terrifying outcome of chronic stress. Given how common depression and anxiety is, it isn’t uncommon to assume some or many individuals in the workplace struggle with their mental health.
Companies leading in mental health support are destigmatizing the topic and creating accommodation and responsibility for the business to be a part of the solution. Employees need to be allowed to thrive and be happy in the workplace so they can provide excelling milestones for the company and be the link to other employees who need assistance.
Even if just a single employee is truly talked off the proverbial ledge, the contribution towards mental health awareness is worth it for everyone. With a sense of community, morality, and comprehensive support for everyone in the business, mental health and suicide prevention are becoming the leading concern for workplaces everywhere.