As a leader, you play an important role in bringing out the best in your team. One way you can do this is by helping your team members find the right information and resources. By doing this, you empower them to manage their challenges and gain greater control of their circumstances.
September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. This is an opportunity for managers to remind individuals about their Assistance Programs—and how this free and confidential benefit is available to help members address life’s challenges, preferably before they become a crisis.
According to the CDC, nearly 50,000 Americans died by suicide in 2022, a record-high number. The greatest increases were seen in middle-aged and older adults. However, rates have also been increasing among youth and young adults.
Our goal is to help managers and supervisors build safe and supportive environments that prioritize mental health throughout the year. Please use this opportunity to remind members that their Assistance Program provides free and confidential mental health counseling to address personal challenges, receive support, and help prevent issues from escalating. If you are concerned about an individual, your Assistance Program is always available to offer support and resources.
We also want to use this opportunity to help you become better prepared in navigating a mental health crisis by recognizing common warning signs:
- Expressing feelings of hopelessness or purposelessness
- Withdrawing from friends, family, and activities they once enjoyed
- Displaying intense emotions or sudden mood swings
- Talking about feeling like a burden to others
- Engaging in risky or self-destructive behaviors
Approaching someone who may be struggling with suicidal thoughts requires sensitivity and care. Here are some ways to provide support:
- Initiate a conversation, expressing your concerns openly and without judgment, assuring them you are there to listen and provide support.
- Validate their feelings, by acknowledging their emotions and letting them know it’s OK to feel overwhelmed.
- Encourage professional help and support in finding the right resources.
- Remove access to any items that could be used for self-harm.
- Stay connected by checking in on them regularly and reminding them that they are not alone.
- If there’s an imminent risk of someone harming themselves or others, please call 911.
Continue to make people aware of their Assistance Program throughout the year, and remind them that services are free, confidential, and can be accessed by visiting Member Support.