TRIGGER WARNING: This blog contains information about suicide which may be upsetting to some people.
In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month and in a continuation of our Whole Person Approach, we’re striving to better promote the importance of mental health and raise awareness on the topic of suicide in our industry. Mental health is oftentimes a stigmatized topic, but at CareVet we’re shifting that paradigm.
We recognize suicide as a public health issue, and like most public health problems, suicide is preventable. This blog post is designed to help you find strategies to prevent suicide, actions you can take and resources to help you and your employees every step of the way.
As a leader at your hospital, implementing these proactive strategies can provide the greatest potential to preventing suicide.
- Provide work/life balance benefits. Benefits and programs like flexible scheduling, paid parental leave, access to an on-staff social worker, and complimentary annual vacations helps build work/life balance into your Team Members’ careers.
- Creating protective environments. The implementation of supportive policies and practices can change social norms, encourage help-seeking and demonstrate that mental health is valued. Evaluating your hospital’s organizational policies and empowering your team is a great way to foster a positive and protective workplace culture.
- Promoting connectedness. Social integration can help protect against suicidal behaviors by decreasing isolation and increasing belongingness, personal value and worth. Promoting and hosting team engagement activities, such as team outings or volunteer opportunities, encourage your team to become more involved in and to connect with other employees, organizations and resources, resulting in enhanced overall physical and mental health, reduced stress and decreased depressive symptoms.
- Teaching coping and problem-solving skills. Creating and strengthening life skills prepares individuals to successfully take on everyday challenges and better acclimate to stress and adversity. In addition to creating a protective work environment, encourage actions that promote positive conflict resolution and critical thinking.
- Identifying and supporting people at risk. Preemptive steps hospital leaders can take include keeping mental health at the forefront of employee conversations, providing resources and learning how to recognize warning signs of suicide, including:
- Talking about wanting to die
- Looking for a way to kill oneself
- Talking about feeling hopeless or having no purpose
- Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
- Talking about being a burden to others
- For more warning signs, see resources below.
If someone is struggling emotionally or having a hard time, you can be the difference in getting them the help they need.
If you suspect an employee may be at risk:
- Ask if they’re okay and talk openly and matter-of-factly about suicide
- Practice active listening when talking about mental health and suicide
- Provide the resources below and offer to get help from people or agencies specializing in crisis intervention and suicide prevention
If an employee has expressed suicidal thoughts:
- Do not leave the person alone
- Take the person to an emergency room, or seek help from a medical or mental health professional
- Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- Remove any firearms, alcohol, drugs or sharp objects that could be used in a suicide attempt
From break room flyers to conversation starters to crisis hotlines, these resources are here to assist you in your effort to support your staff and promote mental health.
- American Veterinary Medical Association
- Not One More Vet
- American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
- Crisis Text Line
- Crisis Text Line is a confidential, free texting service for emotional crisis support. To speak with a trained listener, text HELLO to 741741
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL)
- The NSPL is a hotline for individuals in crisis or for those looking to help someone else. To speak with a certified listener, call 1-800-273-8255
Are you looking to provide additional mental health support for your employees? In addition to community engagement opportunities, CareVet provides an expansive suite of benefits that ensures our employees’ health and wellness is secure. We are also preparing to launch our Team Member Care Program, giving CareVet Team Members access to our very own Care Coordinator.