Preventing employee suicides
After increasing steadily from 2005 - 2015, workplace suicides in the U.S. hit a new record high in 2016 – 291 – according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. A total of 1,719 male and female workers committed suicide on the job between 2003 and 2007. Those numbers only takes into account suicides that occur at work.
Among occupational groups, male employees of construction and mining companies had the highest suicide rate: 53.2 deaths per 100,000 in 2015, up from 43.6 in 2012.
With the suicide rate among U.S. adults having increased by 34 percent between 2000 and 2016, more and more attention has been focused on suicide prevention.
What can managers do?
Start by reaching out to employees who appear to be in crisis, whether the source of their stress is work-related or not.
Steer them toward mental health resources.
- They can speak with someone and get confidential support 24/7 by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. For English speakers, the number is 1-800-273-8255. Para español 1-888-628-9454.
- There’s also an online chat option at: suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat
- Learn the Risk Factors and Warning Signs of suicide.
- Get information on facts, risks and protective factors, prevention strategies, tips for dealing with stress from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Suicide Prevention Webpage.
- Drug use and dependency is a major risk factor. Learn more about it at: U.S. Department of Labor Office of Workers' Compensation Programs - Progress on Opioids: Protecting Federal Injured Workers
- Provides resources to combat the opioid epidemic and reduce the potential for opioid misuse and addiction among injured federal workers.
- Access resources, articles, and websites Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention (CIASP).
- The Construction Working Minds has resources on how to address workplace suicide for workers, managers, and industry associations.
- Suicide in the Construction Industry: Breaking the Stigma and Silence: American Society of Safety Professionals offers recommendations on how to start a conversation in the industry, and three keys for providing help.
- The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) - Opioid Resources has resources to help prevent opioid deaths in construction.