Recognizing Warning Signs of Suicide in the Workplace: A Guide for Employees
In today’s fast-paced and interconnected world, mental health issues have become more and more prevalent. As an employee, you spend a significant amount of time with your coworkers, making it crucial to be aware of the warning signs of suicide. By recognizing these signs early on, you can offer support and potentially save someone’s life. Let’s discuss some essential warning signs of suicide in the workplace and provide guidance on how to respond.
Behavioral Changes: Keep an eye out for any significant changes in an individual's behavior.
These may include:
· Withdrawal from social interactions and isolating themselves from others.
· Increased irritability, mood swings, or unexplained outbursts.
· Noticeable decline in work performance, missing deadlines, or increased absenteeism.
· Expressing feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, or purposelessness.
· Engaging in reckless or self-destructive behaviors, such as excessive drinking or drug abuse.
· Giving away personal belongings or making arrangements as if preparing for an end.
Verbal Cues: Pay attention to what your colleagues say and how they express themselves. Verbal cues that may indicate suicidal thoughts include:
· Making direct or indirect statements about wanting to die or end their life.
· Expressing feelings of being a burden to others or feeling trapped with no way out.
· Frequently talking about death or engaging in morbid conversations.
· Expressing feelings of hopelessness, saying that things will never get better.
Changes in Appearance: Changes in a person's appearance can sometimes indicate underlying mental health struggles. Watch for the following signs:
· Deterioration in personal hygiene, neglecting their physical appearance.
· Noticeable weight loss or gain without any apparent reason.
· Sluggishness, fatigue, or a general lack of energy.
Social Withdrawal: An individual who is contemplating suicide may withdraw from their usual social circles. Look for the following signs:
· Avoiding team events, lunches, or group activities they would typically attend.
· Becoming distant and disengaged during conversations or meetings.
· Spending an unusual amount of time alone, avoiding contact with others.
Giving Away Possessions: One alarming sign is when a person starts giving away their personal belongings without any logical reason. Be aware if you notice someone exhibiting this behavior, especially if it seems out of character.
How to Respond: If you notice any warning signs of suicide in a colleague, it is crucial to take action and provide support.
Here's how you can help:
Express concern: Reach out to the person privately, expressing your genuine concern for their well-being. Let them know you're there to listen without judgment.
Be a good listener: Give them your undivided attention, allowing them to express their feelings and concerns. Show empathy and avoid trying to provide immediate solutions.
Suggest professional help: Encourage them to seek professional assistance from a therapist, counselor, or they can reach Apollo’s employee assistance program (EAP). Offer to help find resources or make an appointment if needed. You can reach HR for EAP and also call or text 988 the suicide & crisis hotline.
Involve a supervisor or HR: If you're comfortable doing so, consult with a supervisor or the Human Resources department. They can provide further guidance and ensure appropriate support is provided to the individual.
Maintain confidentiality: Respect the individual's privacy and keep any discussions or information shared confidential, unless there is an immediate threat to their safety.
Follow up: Check in on your colleague regularly, showing ongoing support and reminding them that they are not alone. Small gestures of kindness can go a long way in letting them know they are cared for.
To anyone that’s every been affected by mental illness, just know that we are here to help. Please reach out to HR for support, email@example.com .