Suicide Prevention Awareness in the Workplace

Source: Katarzyna Białasiewicz - 123RF

September is Suicide Prevention Month in the USA.

Suicide is a serious public health problem that affects people of all ages.

According to the CDC:

  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death for Americans overall and the second leading cause of death among young people aged 10–34.
  • Suicide rates increased more than 30 percent in half of the states since 1999.
  • In 2016, nearly 45,000 lives were lost to suicide across the United States.

Deaths from suicide are only part of the problem.

  • More than 1.3 million adults self-reported a suicide attempt.
  • Almost 10 million adults self-reported serious thoughts of suicide.

According to the International Association for the Prevention of Suicide (IASP), in heavy manufacturing and construction industries, the stigma of mental illness can be deadly. These environments, traditionally dominated by men, are not typically places where workers feel comfortable discussing their problems.

In the U.S., the construction sector has a suicide rate that is four times higher than the average, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. An additional study concluded that men consisted of more than 75% of suicides in the EU. 

In many cases, workplace conditions can contribute to poor mental health with daily exposure to hazards, poor ergonomics, employment insecurity along with increasing work demands.

On the business side, poor mental health can lead to decreased productivity, lost revenue, low morale and diminished company reputation.

Suicide is more than a mental health concern. A recent CDC study showed that a range of factors contributes to suicide among those with and without known mental health conditions. However, suicide is preventable.

States and communities, including, public health, healthcare, schools, the media, and community organizations can do a lot to prevent suicide.

Research has uncovered a wealth of information about the factors that contribute to suicide risk and prevention strategies.

The CDC has released a technical package, Preventing Suicide: A Technical Package of Policy, Programs, and Practices pdf icon[6.09 MB], to help inform decisions about prevention strategies that are based on the best available evidence.