Warnings signs for suicide in the workplace

The holiday season can be a time of great joy, social support, gifts, and nostalgic traditions. However, the holidays can also be a challenging time for many people, being reminded of their grief and loss, effects of seasonal depression, and end of the year reflections. Some people might feel extremely joyous and hopeful for the new year, and some might feel great anxiety and hopelessness. 

In this post, I want to share warning signs for suicidality that may show up in the workplace. Employees that are often sad. There may be changes in the appetites, extreme weight gain or weight loss, and they might be more agitated over time. A decrease in productivity could be an indicator of other issues. Some employees may have trouble concentrating, remembering things, and following through on tasks, and this may be a change in their regular work behavior. You might notice employees having a lot less energy, expressing changes in sleep patterns, showing up late, or not keeping up with their appearance in the same way. They may potentially come to work less, calling out sick, or not attending events as they used to. On the more dangerous spectrum, employees may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol at work and they may even just express thoughts or comments about suicide. 

If you are a supervisor or another employee seeing these changes in someone you work with, I would encourage you to approach their behavioral changes with curiosity instead of judgment. An example could be “Hi, I just wanted to check in and see how you’re feeling or if there is any way I can help. I’m noticing that your tasks are being completed late when you used to complete them early.” Also, maintaining confidentiality. If any information is shared, sharing with the proper people in the workplace who can help provide necessary care. It would not help for someone’s mental distress to become workplace gossip. Lastly, reach out to people who can help. Encourage the employee to utilize appropriate hotlines, ask Human Resources for accommodations, or use EAP benefits to get mental health treatment. Don’t feel that you have to manage someone’s suicidality alone. 



988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline

Goel, C. (2022, August 8). Top 7 employee suicidal warning signs . Axiom Medical. Retrieved December 15, 2022, from https://www.axiomllc.com/blog/employee-suicidal-warning-signs/ 


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One comment

  1. Hi Amber, great post and very informative. I agree you never just know how someone is feeling and what they may be going through. Just last year around this time a former coworker of mine committed suicide and it was devastating because he always seemed so happy and cheerful. Everyone was shocked by it. It’s always good to just check in with your coworkers, sometimes even just a hey want to grab a coffee could change the way a person is feeling.

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