Suicide prevention advocates release workplace guidelines, call on employers to act

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Photo: The National Guidelines for Workplace Suicide Prevention

Washington — A trio of advocacy groups is calling on employers to take a proactive role in suicide prevention in the workplace, and has published a new set of guidelines.

The National Guidelines for Workplace Suicide Prevention were developed by the American Association of Suicidology, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and United Suicide Survivors International – with input from experts in human resources, employment law and employee assistance; labor and safety leaders; and workers who have experienced a suicide crisis on the job.

In 2018, the groups conducted an online survey of 256 people from 41 states and found that 46% of the respondents said they knew at least one friend, co-worker or family member who had attempted suicide, while 43% reported having lost at least one friend to suicide. Additionally, a 2018 analysis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded that suicides among the U.S. working age population rose 34% from 2000 to 2016.

According to the groups, the guidelines – part of an 88-page report – are applicable to small and large employers in all industries and throughout the public and private sectors. They:

  • Give employers and professional associations an opportunity to pledge to engage in the suicide prevention effort. To sign the pledge, go to WorkplaceSuicidePrevention.com.
  • Demonstrate an implementation structure for workplace best practices in a comprehensive, public health approach.
  • Provide data and resources to advance the cause of workplace suicide prevention.
  • Bring together diverse stakeholders in a collaborative public-private model.
  • Make recommendations for easily deployed tools, trainings, and resources for short-term action and comprehensive and sustained energy.

“We aim to change the culture of workplaces to reduce elements that cause job strain like sleep disruption, job insecurity and low job control – things shown to be connected to suicide risk,” AAS Executive Director Colleen Creighton said in a press release. “We know these guidelines will not only save lives, but will also alleviate intense emotional suffering by making changes to systems while helping individuals in the workplace.”

Suicide in the Construction Industry: Breaking the Stigma and Silence

A suicide occurs every 12 minutes in the U.S. While these incidents touch every industry, one industry in particular has felt the impact of suicide in recent years – construction and extraction. A CDC study found that in 2012 and 2015, suicide rates were highest among males in the construction and extraction occupational group. Continue reading»