Preventing Suicide is a Community Responsibility

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Suicide, as the result of unbearable stress in the workplace, is not relegated to the corporate world, but is occurring at an alarming rate in the private sector as well. In her recent New York Times article about the suicide epidemic in the French farming industry, Pamela Rougerie, writes about an issue, which I assert encompasses many sectors and professions.

In the chapter, “No way out: Mark’s story,” in my book, From Bully to Bull’s Eye – Move Your Organization Out of the Line of Fire, I expose the devastation that suicide wreaks with close friends and family, who quite innocently stood by not realizing the life of a close friend was hanging in perilous balance. Signs of severe depression too often go unnoticed.

As uncomfortable as it may be, we need to intervene when red flags appear. An intervention can be as simple as a kind question or a gentle offer to lend an ear to someone who is suffering. Often this small spontaneous act makes all the difference, and it can save a life.

This is why articles about suicide can help reduce the stigma, cause bystanders to reflect on what people are going through, and encourage them to intervene before it is too late. As community members, we need to begin to recognize when someone is acting abnormally and needs help extricating him or herself from the desolate lonely space in which they are suffering.

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