When you come home tonight, leave the kids in the van and come inside alone.”

Those were the last words that my friend told his wife one summer day several years ago.

I would guess many of you reading this know someone who died by suicide.

The facts are sobering:

– On average, there are 132 suicides per day.

– Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among people ages 15 to 24 in the U.S.

– Men are more than four times more likely to die by suicide than women.

– The rate of suicide is highest in middle-aged white men.

– Most people who commit suicide have a diagnosable mental disorder.

I decided to write about this difficult topic because June is Men’s Mental Health Awareness Month and men are less likely to talk about their mental health struggles than women.

If you are an employer, consider the following ways to promote positive mental health for all:

  • Encourage open communication in your organization. If you have struggled in the past, be open about your struggles and how you overcame them.
  • If you notice behavior changes in a co-worker, offer a listening ear.
  • Support healthy lifestyle initiatives (exercise programs, weight loss support groups, healthy eating, etc.).
  • Offer on-going training related to workplace mental health.
  • Keep your workplace as stress-free as possible by communicating deadlines far in advance.

Encourage your organization to publish available resources for those struggling with their mental health. For example:

  • EAP (Employee Assistance Programs)
  • Statewide crisis lines are available in most states 24 hours a day/365 days a year.
  • Dialing 998 on any phone connects you with a trained counselor anywhere in the U.S. I called just to see how long it took to talk to a live person. In just over one minute I was speaking to a counselor.

Unfortunately, suicide has risen dramatically over the last twenty years. As hard as it may be to talk about it, it’s important to have healthy and proactive conversations to help reduce the number of suicides. You just might save a life.

#Men’sMentalHealthAwarenessMonth #workplacementalhealth #leadershipdevelopment

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