An estimated 3,800 people who took their own lives in Australia in the decade to 2011 may have done so due to work, says a new Work and Suicide Prevention Position Statement from Suicide Prevention Australia (SPA).
Adults spend about a third of their waking hours at work. The workplace provides a unique opportunity to provide key health information and intervention. Suicide Prevention Australia (SPA) sees the workplace as playing a vital role in the creation of a suicide-safe community.
There is a relationship between stress and work-related suicide. While suicidal behaviour is an extreme outcome of stress, significant productivity gains are to be had by managing workplace stress. Medibank Private commissioned research found that stress-related presenteeism and absenteeism cost the Australian economy $14.81 billion a year, with 3.2 days per worker lost each year due to stress.
“The World Health Organization suggests worker suicide is a result of complex interaction between individual vulnerabilities and work-related environmental factors that trigger stress reactions and contribute to poor mental wellbeing,” SPA says.
The statement from SPA outlines a number of approaches to help prevent suicide in the workplace, including:
- Promoting a workplace culture that is inclusive, destigmatises mental health problems and encourages help-seeking.
- Understand and value the person as a human being rather than a resource. This includes understanding the interactions between what happens within the workplace and other aspects of life including family, relationships, cultural background, health, etc.
- Establish mechanisms for the recognition and early detection of mental health and emotional difficulties in the workplace.
SPA has reviewed the existing evidence and summarised key issues in this document which you can read here>> SPA’s Work and Suicide Prevention Position Statement
Contact the following if you are in need of immediate assistance:
Lifeline: 13 11 14 or Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467