Mental Health is a Workplace Issue Linked to National Security
Suicide is a problem that touches the lives of many Americans. Many of us may know someone, such as a friend, family member, or coworker who has attempted or died by suicide. Over the past two decades, suicide rates have steadily risen in the United States. Most suicide deaths occur among working age individuals, and statistics show that the number of suicides enacted at work have reached record highs.
The challenges of the pandemic and increasing violence have changed the conversation about mental health in the workplace making it one of the country’s most crucial public health issues and impacting national security. This has prompted an increasing number of employers to introduce or expand initiatives to support employees’ mental well-being as a top workforce wellness concern. Now more than ever, it is important to remember that increased stress and anxiety as well as conditions like depression can contribute to suicidal thoughts.
Since 2020, over 80% of employees have reported experiencing mental health issues due to the coronavirus pandemic and within the last year, 76% of respondents reported at least one symptom of a mental health condition in the past year, up from 59% in 2019. Suicide does not discriminate. People of all genders, ages, and ethnicities can be at risk. Suicidal behavior is complex, and there is no single cause.
Suicidal thoughts, much like mental health conditions, can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, or background. In fact, suicide is often the result of an untreated mental health condition. Suicidal thoughts, although common, should not be considered normal and often indicate more serious issues. Stressful life events (such as the loss of a loved one, legal troubles, or financial difficulties) and interpersonal stressors (such as shame, harassment, bullying, discrimination, or relationship troubles) may contribute to suicide risk, especially when they occur along with suicide risk factors.
As the world continues to battle an ongoing pandemic, more individuals are at risk for experiencing decreased mental health as well as increased suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Now, more than ever, it is critical for organizations to evaluate the role they play in preventing suicide deaths, as well as strategize about ways to aid those considering suicide. It’s important to know that suicide is preventable. With commitment and engagement in communities, workplaces, and homes, the number of suicides can be reduced.
SkyePoint is committed to ensuring that our employees know they can have a safe resource to turn for help when facing mental and emotional stress. Leading with empathy and responsiveness helps establish a healthy workforce where employees feel encouraged, safe, and valued. We recognize that prioritizing mental well-being in the workplace is key to overall growth and success.
To help prevent suicide a few actions employers should take are as follows:
- Create a respectful work environment
- Foster social inclusion
- Identify employees who may be at risk
- Create a plan to act
- Develop organizational postvention strategies
It is important to note that suicide is not a normal response to stress. Suicidal thoughts or actions are a sign of extreme distress and should not be ignored. If these warning signs apply to you or someone you know, get help as soon as possible, particularly if the behavior is new or has increased recently.
Here are five steps you can take to #BeThe1To help someone in emotional pain:
How Can I Help?
1. ASK: “Are you thinking about killing yourself?” It’s not an easy question, but studies show that asking at-risk individuals if they are suicidal does not increase suicides or suicidal thoughts.
2. KEEP THEM SAFE: Reducing a suicidal person’s access to highly lethal items or places is an important part of suicide prevention. While this is not always easy, asking if the at-risk person has a plan and removing or disabling the lethal means can make a difference.
3. BE THERE: Listen carefully and learn what the individual is thinking and feeling. Research suggests acknowledging and talking about suicide may reduce rather than increase suicidal thoughts.
4. HELP THEM CONNECT: Save the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline number (call or text 988) and the Crisis Text Line number (741741) in your phone so they’re there if you need them. You can also help make a connection with a trusted individual like a family member, friend, spiritual advisor, or mental health professional.
5. STAY CONNECTED: Staying in touch after a crisis or after being discharged from care can make a difference. Studies have shown the number of suicide deaths goes down when someone follows up with the at-risk person.
How SkyePoint supports our employees:
The Health and Wellness of employees and their families are important to SkyePoint. The company provides comprehensive benefits with top-tier insurance carriers alongside competitive health care premiums. These benefits include medical, dental, vision, flexible spending accounts for medical and dependent care, employer-paid short-term and long-term disability, and life insurance. SkyePoint also offers a competitive 401(k) plan, Employee Assistance Program, employee discounts through LifeMart, and many other benefits.
Additionally, SkyePoint does offer Employee Assistance Programs (EAP)s through two of its providers- Guardian and Cigna.
Guardian’s EAP provides access for SkyePoint team members and their family to confidential personal support, across everything from stress management and nutrition to handling legal or financial issues. The services available include consultations with experienced professionals, as well as access to resources and discounts designed to help you in a variety of different ways. Employees have the choice to call their Help Line directly at (800) 386-7055 or go online to access this support team.
Cigna offers easy support to access behavioral health assistance when needed. SkyePoint’s health plan comes with access to myCigna.com – a personalized website that puts all individualized plan information and resources right at your fingertips.
SkyePoint does not discriminate based on race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex. In addition, SkyePoint offers a wide range of comprehensive, top-tier benefits to our employees and their eligible dependents. The company is fully committed to a culture that fosters: Work/Life Balance; Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Professional Growth and Development; Execution Excellence; and “Living in Gratitude” making meaningful differences in our community and to those we serve.
Highlights of our benefits include:
- Pre-Tax Health Savings Accounts (HSAs); and Health Care/Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs)
- Company Matching 401(k) Retirement Plan
- Wide Variety of Employee Assistance Programs
- Employee Referral Program
- Incentive Certification Program
- Commuter Benefits
These are just a few ways SkyePoint supports the overall well-being of staff members. We have found that those who are supported and have a pleasant workplace experience and are more likely to be motivated, productive, and satisfied with life.
Encouragement for the Future
Encouraging open and candid conversations and offering useful resources to support employees can play a major role in culture for many businesses both small and large; so, it’s important to use the platforms and available resources to proactively tackle mental health issues. With the current shift of the work environment, there is a great opportunity to make a substantial, meaningful impact in an area that affects so many.
SkyePoint invests in developing employees for the long term to achieve their career goals through the offer of exciting roles, a certification program, and recognition awards. SkyePoint also provides virtual and in-person networking opportunities to make introductions to others who can provide assistance on each individual’s journey. These include technical forums, happy hours, and company events.
SkyePoint fosters a highly collaborative culture focused on team goals and engaging individuals, where every employee is valued as an individual. Personal connections are developed through frequent interactions across all levels of the organization. This includes direct engagement with the management team, project lunch events, and social activities.
As we move forward, together, we must not lose focus on the importance of mental health. We all have a role to play. It is essential for the well-being of our employees, customers, their loved ones, and the missions we serve.
SkyePoint does offer EAP programs through two of its providers- Guardian and Cigna. The first attachment provides “How to Access” contact information for Guardian’s EAP. Employees have the choice to call their Help Line directly at (800) 386-7055 or go online to access this support team.
If someone is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org to reach the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. Additional resources include: USA: 1-800-273-8255 (CHAT) and U.S. Crisis text line: 741741 text HOME