Responding to people at risk for suicide is never easy. But you can be prepared by knowing who to contact in your workplace if a co-worker is in distress or suicidal. Your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and HR department are the appropriate first points of contact. However, if you are experiencing a crisis, call 911 immediately.
How to Take Action if You Encounter Someone at Immediate Risk for Suicide
If a co-worker is…
- Talking about wanting to die or kill oneself
- Looking for a way to kill oneself, such as searching online or obtaining a gun
- Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
Take these steps immediately:
- Call 911 if the danger for self-harm seems imminent.
- Stay with the person (or make sure the person is in a private, secure place with another caring person) until you can get further help.
- Contact the EAP or HR department, and they will help you decide what to do. Provide any background information that may be helpful.
- Continue to stay in contact with the person and pay attention to how they are doing.
How to Reach Out to Someone Who May Be at Risk for Suicide:
To help other co-workers who may be at risk for suicide, you can take the following steps, depending on what feels most comfortable for you:
- Talk with your EAP or HR department about your concerns.
- Reach out the person:
- Ask how they’re doing.
- Listen without judging.
- Mention changes you’ve noticed in your co-worker’s behavior. Say you’re concerned about their emotional well-being.
- Suggest they talk with a mental health professional from the EAP or HR department. Offer to help arrange an appointment and go with the person.
- Continue to stay in contact with the person and pay attention to how they’re doing.
Adapted from suicidepreventionlifeline.org