For Managers: Suicide Prevention

Posted Sep 5, 2017

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Summary

Learn about the warning signs and how you can help your employee.

Do you have an employee whom you think may be considering taking his own life? What is your role as a manager to intervene?

Hearing someone talk about it can be scary. You might wonder if you should try to get help. You might wonder if your role as a manager is to look away. The answer is to take any thoughts or discussion of suicide seriously. Know the warning signs and where to get help, if needed.

Why would someone consider suicide?

If your employee is deeply hurting, suicide might seem like the only choice. Sometimes, it’s hard to see the way out of a bad situation or event. It can be the result of:

  • A lasting depression, eating disorder, or anxiety disorder
  • The loss of a relationship or death of a loved one
  • Being bullied at work
  • Going through a divorce
  • Substance or alcohol use disorder
  • Family history of suicide attempts or a mental health condition, such as suicidal behavior disorder
  • Domestic violence, including physical or sexual abuse
  • Immediately following discharge from inpatient psychiatric care
  • Suicidal behavior disorder, a treatable condition on its own

Many times, people can be fearful of the stigma attached to thoughts of suicide. Your employee could be facing extremely stressful life events and has a fear of asking for help.

Identify warning signs

There are generally warning signs before a person attempts suicide. Here are just a few:

  • Mentioning the desire and an actual plan
  • Losing interest in what he used to like to do
  • Feeling like a burden to others
  • Changes in eating, sleeping, or amount of drinking/drug use
  • Giving away cherished belongings

It can be hard to see the warning signs since you are usually only with your employee at work. Also, while there are often red flags for suicidal behavior disorder, sometimes a person who wants to take her own life shows no signs at all. Concerned co-workers can sometimes help. Listen to them without a sense of judgment.

How you can help

As a manager, it is not your role to diagnose a condition in an employee. Still, you can help. Here are some ways:

  • If there is immediate danger, call 911.
  • Let your employee know you care and that help is available.
  • Stay calm and make sure you are both safe.
  • It’s OK to ask: “Are you thinking about ending your life?”
  • Send or call for help.
    • Call your employee if a threat is sent via text.
    • If a threat is made over the phone, ask where your employee is and if someone else is there. Keep your employee on the line.
    • If a threat is made on social media or in a note, contact your employee directly (or someone close to him).
  • Depending on the situation, alert security and/or Human Resources (HR). Never send your employee home alone.
  • After your employee is safe, contact HR to develop a plan to help with treatment options.

If you are concerned about an employee, talk with HR to determine your best approach. Follow company policy but do not promise confidentiality to your employee. You might need to reach out to his loved ones or police for additional assistance.

Resources

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: When Someone Is at Risk
https://afsp.org/find-support/when-someone-is-at-risk/

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
(800) 273-TALK (8255)

Screening for Mental Health: Help Yourself, Help Others
http://helpyourselfhelpothers.org/

Suicide Prevention Resource Center
www.sprc.org

Yellow Ribbon International Suicide Prevention Program
www.yellowribbon.org

By Andrea Rizzo, MFA
Source: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fifth Edition (DSM-5); "Feeling Suicidal," www.girlshealth.gov/feelings/suicidal/index.html#why; "Suicide Prevention," National Institute of Mental Health, www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/suicide-prevention/index.shtml#part_153176; "Increase in Suicide in the United States, 1999-2014," Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db241.htm; "Preventing Suicide," www.cdc.gov/Features/PreventingSuicide/index.html
Reviewed by Jenni Myers, LCSW, Director of Corporate Strategy; Dale Seamans, Executive Editor, Thought Leadership; Elizabeth Taylor, CRSS, Peer and Family Support Specialist, Beacon Health Options

Summary

Learn about the warning signs and how you can help your employee.

Do you have an employee whom you think may be considering taking his own life? What is your role as a manager to intervene?

Hearing someone talk about it can be scary. You might wonder if you should try to get help. You might wonder if your role as a manager is to look away. The answer is to take any thoughts or discussion of suicide seriously. Know the warning signs and where to get help, if needed.

Why would someone consider suicide?

If your employee is deeply hurting, suicide might seem like the only choice. Sometimes, it’s hard to see the way out of a bad situation or event. It can be the result of:

  • A lasting depression, eating disorder, or anxiety disorder
  • The loss of a relationship or death of a loved one
  • Being bullied at work
  • Going through a divorce
  • Substance or alcohol use disorder
  • Family history of suicide attempts or a mental health condition, such as suicidal behavior disorder
  • Domestic violence, including physical or sexual abuse
  • Immediately following discharge from inpatient psychiatric care
  • Suicidal behavior disorder, a treatable condition on its own

Many times, people can be fearful of the stigma attached to thoughts of suicide. Your employee could be facing extremely stressful life events and has a fear of asking for help.

Identify warning signs

There are generally warning signs before a person attempts suicide. Here are just a few:

  • Mentioning the desire and an actual plan
  • Losing interest in what he used to like to do
  • Feeling like a burden to others
  • Changes in eating, sleeping, or amount of drinking/drug use
  • Giving away cherished belongings

It can be hard to see the warning signs since you are usually only with your employee at work. Also, while there are often red flags for suicidal behavior disorder, sometimes a person who wants to take her own life shows no signs at all. Concerned co-workers can sometimes help. Listen to them without a sense of judgment.

How you can help

As a manager, it is not your role to diagnose a condition in an employee. Still, you can help. Here are some ways:

  • If there is immediate danger, call 911.
  • Let your employee know you care and that help is available.
  • Stay calm and make sure you are both safe.
  • It’s OK to ask: “Are you thinking about ending your life?”
  • Send or call for help.
    • Call your employee if a threat is sent via text.
    • If a threat is made over the phone, ask where your employee is and if someone else is there. Keep your employee on the line.
    • If a threat is made on social media or in a note, contact your employee directly (or someone close to him).
  • Depending on the situation, alert security and/or Human Resources (HR). Never send your employee home alone.
  • After your employee is safe, contact HR to develop a plan to help with treatment options.

If you are concerned about an employee, talk with HR to determine your best approach. Follow company policy but do not promise confidentiality to your employee. You might need to reach out to his loved ones or police for additional assistance.

Resources

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: When Someone Is at Risk
https://afsp.org/find-support/when-someone-is-at-risk/

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
(800) 273-TALK (8255)

Screening for Mental Health: Help Yourself, Help Others
http://helpyourselfhelpothers.org/

Suicide Prevention Resource Center
www.sprc.org

Yellow Ribbon International Suicide Prevention Program
www.yellowribbon.org

By Andrea Rizzo, MFA
Source: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fifth Edition (DSM-5); "Feeling Suicidal," www.girlshealth.gov/feelings/suicidal/index.html#why; "Suicide Prevention," National Institute of Mental Health, www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/suicide-prevention/index.shtml#part_153176; "Increase in Suicide in the United States, 1999-2014," Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db241.htm; "Preventing Suicide," www.cdc.gov/Features/PreventingSuicide/index.html
Reviewed by Jenni Myers, LCSW, Director of Corporate Strategy; Dale Seamans, Executive Editor, Thought Leadership; Elizabeth Taylor, CRSS, Peer and Family Support Specialist, Beacon Health Options

Summary

Learn about the warning signs and how you can help your employee.

Do you have an employee whom you think may be considering taking his own life? What is your role as a manager to intervene?

Hearing someone talk about it can be scary. You might wonder if you should try to get help. You might wonder if your role as a manager is to look away. The answer is to take any thoughts or discussion of suicide seriously. Know the warning signs and where to get help, if needed.

Why would someone consider suicide?

If your employee is deeply hurting, suicide might seem like the only choice. Sometimes, it’s hard to see the way out of a bad situation or event. It can be the result of:

  • A lasting depression, eating disorder, or anxiety disorder
  • The loss of a relationship or death of a loved one
  • Being bullied at work
  • Going through a divorce
  • Substance or alcohol use disorder
  • Family history of suicide attempts or a mental health condition, such as suicidal behavior disorder
  • Domestic violence, including physical or sexual abuse
  • Immediately following discharge from inpatient psychiatric care
  • Suicidal behavior disorder, a treatable condition on its own

Many times, people can be fearful of the stigma attached to thoughts of suicide. Your employee could be facing extremely stressful life events and has a fear of asking for help.

Identify warning signs

There are generally warning signs before a person attempts suicide. Here are just a few:

  • Mentioning the desire and an actual plan
  • Losing interest in what he used to like to do
  • Feeling like a burden to others
  • Changes in eating, sleeping, or amount of drinking/drug use
  • Giving away cherished belongings

It can be hard to see the warning signs since you are usually only with your employee at work. Also, while there are often red flags for suicidal behavior disorder, sometimes a person who wants to take her own life shows no signs at all. Concerned co-workers can sometimes help. Listen to them without a sense of judgment.

How you can help

As a manager, it is not your role to diagnose a condition in an employee. Still, you can help. Here are some ways:

  • If there is immediate danger, call 911.
  • Let your employee know you care and that help is available.
  • Stay calm and make sure you are both safe.
  • It’s OK to ask: “Are you thinking about ending your life?”
  • Send or call for help.
    • Call your employee if a threat is sent via text.
    • If a threat is made over the phone, ask where your employee is and if someone else is there. Keep your employee on the line.
    • If a threat is made on social media or in a note, contact your employee directly (or someone close to him).
  • Depending on the situation, alert security and/or Human Resources (HR). Never send your employee home alone.
  • After your employee is safe, contact HR to develop a plan to help with treatment options.

If you are concerned about an employee, talk with HR to determine your best approach. Follow company policy but do not promise confidentiality to your employee. You might need to reach out to his loved ones or police for additional assistance.

Resources

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: When Someone Is at Risk
https://afsp.org/find-support/when-someone-is-at-risk/

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
(800) 273-TALK (8255)

Screening for Mental Health: Help Yourself, Help Others
http://helpyourselfhelpothers.org/

Suicide Prevention Resource Center
www.sprc.org

Yellow Ribbon International Suicide Prevention Program
www.yellowribbon.org

By Andrea Rizzo, MFA
Source: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fifth Edition (DSM-5); "Feeling Suicidal," www.girlshealth.gov/feelings/suicidal/index.html#why; "Suicide Prevention," National Institute of Mental Health, www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/suicide-prevention/index.shtml#part_153176; "Increase in Suicide in the United States, 1999-2014," Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db241.htm; "Preventing Suicide," www.cdc.gov/Features/PreventingSuicide/index.html
Reviewed by Jenni Myers, LCSW, Director of Corporate Strategy; Dale Seamans, Executive Editor, Thought Leadership; Elizabeth Taylor, CRSS, Peer and Family Support Specialist, Beacon Health Options

The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, quizzes, and other general information, is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical, health care, psychiatric, psychological or behavioral health care advice. Nothing contained on the Achieve Solutions site is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care professional. Please direct questions regarding the operation of the Achieve Solutions site to Web Feedback. If you have concerns about your health, please contact your health care provider.  ©2017 Beacon Health Options, Inc.

 

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