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Suicide Crisis — Workplace Stress

JOPLIN, Mo. — Workplace stress is believed to be one of the leading factors affecting mental health. A concerning rise in deaths led the CDC to analyze them by industry and occupation in order to better understand how to address prevention.

Data collected from 32 states indicates that high-stress occupations were responsible for nearly 16,000 suicide deaths in 2016.

Stephen McCullough, Director, Urgent Behavioral Solutions, Ozark Center, said, “We’ve noticed that construction workers, people that work in delivery services, in production such as farmers, those that are working in healthcare, have higher rates of suicide.”

The top five industry groups were mining, oil and gas extraction jobs, construction, automotive repair, agriculture, and transportation and warehousing.

“The economy, the weather, and taking on secondary trauma, so when our jobs are high stress and we have that high demand and sometimes there are those elements that are outside our control. We have a lot of nursing and medical staff that are taking on even more secondary trauma with related to COVID-19.”

Navigating these high-stress professions can be difficult, but McCullough says having an outlet is important.

“Making sure that you have somebody that you can reach out to, you can talk to them and you can kind of process through the things that you are seeing. That way you can work through those and not take that on to your personal life.”

The Ozark Center can be that outlet you’re looking for.

“There are a lot of resources available. We have outpatient services at Ozark Center. We have urgent behavioral solutions, which is an urgent care directed for behavioral healthcare with integrated medical and we also have our crisis services after hours.”

There’s also a 24-hour hotline where you can speak with a crisis counselor and you can remain anonymous.

“It’s at 1-800-247-0661.”

You can even text with a counselor if you’re in need of some quick assistance.

“It’s very effective, it gives them an outlet that may not be readily available to them. The nice thing with the texting communication is that they don’t have to worry about talking out loud and sometimes we see that we have working people that are doing this on their breaks and they actually do that in privacy within the break room.”

Just taking 5 to 10 minutes can make a difference.

“I know there’s a lot of times that we feel pressure to produce more, to do more but if we’re not taking care of ourselves, our productivity goes down and so taking the five, 10 minutes you need to refocus and re-center yourself, can be really good for our productivity overall.”

If you know anyone struggling with their mental health and they need someone to talk to, we urge you to call the suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-talk.

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