Suicide Prevention is Important for Healthcare Workers
Suicide is a multifaceted public health issue that has no one cause. Suicide can be linked to mental health, which is a person’s emotional, psychological, and social well-being. The nation gathers to celebrate Suicide Prevention Awareness Month Every September; This annual event highlights the growing importance of this public health problem. It is also a time for education about how the public can help keep themselves and others connected.
There has been an increase in suicide-related deaths (suicide-related ideas) Over the past 3 decades in the U.S. Since 1999; the overall suicide rate has increased by 32% in the U.S. 2019.
1) 12 million Americans are seriously considering suicide.
2) About 1 suicide per 11 minutes kills 47,511 people.
3) Suicide deaths were the leading cause of death overall.
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Suicide Prevention in the Healthcare Workforce
Because of the time that people spend at work over a lifetime, workplaces need to play a critical role in protecting and encouraging mental health and well-being and helping to prevent suicide. This is especially important as suicide is the second leading cause of death in people aged 10 to 34 and the fourth among those 35-54. Many workplaces can take action to prevent suicide and promote mental health.
The primary prevention of suicide in the workplace is to prevent work stress and create a positive working environment. Employers can adopt a holistic approach when making changes at work that could affect overall health, well-being, and financial aspects. It can include:
- 1) To keep workers safe.
- 2) Paying attention to the hours and demands, with appropriate work schedules, adequate time off and staffing, and the appropriate amount and intensity of work.
- 3) Promoting a positive work culture
- 4) ensuring worker respect,
- 5)Supporting work-life balance
- 6) Preventing negative factors like bullying and discrimination
The Comprehensive Blueprint for Workplace Suicide Prevention is available from the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention. It provides guidelines for workplaces to promote suicide prevention and mental health. This comprehensive blueprint covers screening, mental health services, resources, suicide prevention training, life skills, crisis management, education and advocacy, education and social marketing, and guidance for leaders.
Preventing suicide: A technical package of policy, programs, and practices of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides strategies that use the best evidence to prevent suicide. These strategies are designed to prevent suicide from ever happening and also keep people at-risk safe. Employers can support and implement these two types of strategies. Employers can think of the following prevention strategies:
- 1) Access to more mental health screening tools that allow self-assessment
- 2) Access to mental health services, such as Employee Assistance Programs, and easy access for employees to help services (e.g., financial counseling, treatment of substance abuse disorders, and mental health) is a crucial goal.
- 3) Promoting connection and a sense of community
- 4) Creating safer workplaces through organizational policies, including strategies to decrease suicide access within the workplace.
- 5) Supporting people at risk by providing gatekeeper training to managers and supervisors. Gatekeepers are those individuals who have the potential to notice changes in the behavior and mood of others.
- 6) Helping colleagues to understand the importance of their role in keeping their colleagues and themselves safe and well.
- 7) Encourage colleagues to have caring conversations with one another and to take steps to help others, especially those in need.
- 8) Programs that teach coping and problem-solving skills.
- 9) Offer support and prevent future risks after the suicide of a coworker.
We want to hear from you.
How is your employer in the healthcare sector supporting the mental health of their workers? What have been your experiences in supporting the mental health of your employees? Contact Us.
1) Suicide and Occupation
2) Healthcare Workers – Work Stress & Mental Health
3) Preventing suicide: A technical package of policies, programs, and practices
4) COVID-19 Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Key Messages
5) First Responders and Healthcare Personnel: How to Deal with Stress and Build Resilience during the COVID-19 Pandemic.