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Earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control announced the outcomes of a study in MMWR Weekly ( where a review was conducted with the National Violent Death Reporting System’s data from 32 states in order to calculate suicide rates by major industry and occupational groups.  The five major industry groups experiencing suicide loss among men were identified as:

 1) Mining, Quarrying, and Oil ad Gas Extraction        

 2) Construction                                                                                                                         

3) Other Services (such as automotive repair)                                                                               

4) Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, and Hunting                                                                             

 5) Transportation and Warehousing.

 If we wish to examine occupational groups, we could add Maintenance and Repair, and Materials moving.  In the Uintah Basin, middle-age males make up the majority of cases whose loss of life is linked to suicide.  As the extraction industry and materials moving are both connected and driving forces of the Uintah Basin, this correlation is concerning.

With September 6th-12th being  recognized as Suicide Prevention and Education Week, this provides a timely opportunity to examine what types of prevention measures companies have in place to address suicide.  Many companies offer an Employee Assistance Programs, but how many emphasize this benefit when speaking to someone who may be struggling with thoughts of suicide? And while companies may feel that suicide prevention information is convenient to house with Human Resources personnel, have businesses considered management, foremen, or even safety personnel which should be included as people who touch base with other employees and may recognize signs of suicide and need to take action for referrals?  As a worksite, are there polices in place for dealing with suicide ideation and loss?  

In the tri-county health district, we are fortunate to have local resources to assist with the subject of suicide. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention offers Talk Saves Lives, Northeastern Counseling Center provides Mental Health First Aid, and TriCounty Health Department offers Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) trainings which are available to anyone, including workplaces.  Utah’s new “Live On” campaign has rolled out with an emphasis on reaching out and supporting others.  A significant way to begin to connect may be in our places of employment where we find these at-risk individuals and can engage in meaningful, lifesaving conversations.  TriCounty Health Department encourages work sites to develop new policies or review existing policies and identify where training and education opportunities could be expanded to include suicide prevention training.