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Workplace-Related Suicide Prevention Strategies

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), an agency of the United States Department of Labor, has published troubling statistics regarding workplace-related suicides.


As we reported in a blog published on this website yesterday, the most recent BLS data advises that work-related suicides increased 13.1 percent to 267 fatalities in 2022, following decreases during 2020 and 2021 respectively.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has held that a strategy to prevent suicide is to "Create healthy organizational policies and culture." However, according to BLS, just over one-half or approximately 54 percent of all workers in the United States have access to Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) leaving the remaining 46 percent of the workforce without such a crucial benefit.





We have recommended that employers have an EAP as a part of their wellness programming to assist employees with work-related issues and personal problems they may be experiencing.


In a January 2023 article published in Property/Casualty 360 a leading national insurance industry periodical, Kathleen M. Bonczyk, Esq. stated the following about EAPs:


"Sometimes, speaking with a qualified professional helps the employee realize that these personal dilemmas are not as insurmountable as one may think.Although many employers offer EAP benefits with access to immediate, low-cost, and confidential financial or mental health counseling, frequently, employees are unaware these benefits exist. In addition, there may be misconceptions that a counselor or psychologist offering assistance through the EAP program will submit a report to management regarding the services provided, and this could lead to employees rejecting these benefits. Employers should routinely remind workers that EAP programs exist, that the services are confidential, and explain how to access them. Timely management interventions can mean the difference between addressing an incident early on and keeping it small vs. allowing a minor problem to escalate into a significant workplace violence event further down the line."


It may not be possible for an employee to leave a life-changing event such as the death of a close loved one or an unwanted divorce at the workplace door. Although completely unrelated to work, such situations can be "a" or even "the" source of observed disruptive occupational behavior or decreased productivity and may unfortunately lead to one of two extremes: A deadly workplace violence event vs. a workplace-related suicide.


EAPs can play a signficant role in remediating a potential crisis situation from escallating.


Please feel free to contact us with any further questions at info@workplaceviolencepreventioninstitute.org



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