These conditions can be devastating to employees and their families, and very costly and disruptive to workplaces. For these reasons, a comprehensive and sustained strategy for mental health promotion and suicide prevention is needed.

Today, people with mental health conditions and suicidal thoughts face the same stigma, misperceptions, and discrimination that cancer patients faced 40 years ago. However, today, cancer survivors are our heroes. To effect that change, we made significant gains in decreasing the stigma and increasing hope by educating the public about cancer and celebrating stories of recovery.

We now need to do everything in our power to prevent mental health problems and suicidal thoughts from emerging. We need to aggressively conduct screening strategies to catch the early progression of this illness and refer people to appropriate levels of mental health care.

Nonetheless, even when all the appropriate prevention steps are taken, people are still going to be affected by mental health issues. When that happens, we need to stand in solidarity to help those in need fight for their lives. Not one more life should be lost to suicide. This call to action is for those ready to implement tactics to improve the mental health of their employees and ultimately save lives. 

1. Foster protective factors and prevent problems

  • Cultivate bold leadership
  • Improve mental health literacy
  • Teach coping skills for life challenges
  • Build a caring culture

2. Identify concerns early and refer qualified resources

  • Promote employee assistance programs and other mental health services
  • Screen for mental health conditions and substance misuse
  • Train supervisors and others on how to have difficult conversations

3. Respond to mental health and suicide crises with compassion, dignity and effectiveness

  • Promote the national suicide prevention lifeline
  • Manage behavioral health crises in the workplace
  • Provide effective and compassionate grief and trauma support after a suicide death