Although scientists, doctors, activists and politicians push large-scale efforts to combat many leading causes of death in the United States, one leading cause often fails to enter the conversation.
Suicide was the second-leading cause of death among people between the ages of 25 and 34, and the fourth-leading cause among those between the ages of 35 and 44, according to 2020 data from the CDC. In 2020, the suicide rate across the country was nearly twice the homicide rate.
National Suicide Prevention Week 2022, which takes place Sept. 4–10, provides an opportunity for firms to hold open and honest conversations about suicide and mental health with their teams. According to the CDC, the stigma associated with being open about and seeking help for mental illness is a factor that can increase suicide risk.
Although there are no current statistics about the rates of suicide among accounting and finance professionals, the heightened anxiety, isolation, and economic instability many experienced across the country over the past few years have significantly affected mental health.
For those who often spend over 40 hours a week at work, an employer and workplace likely have a significant impact on mental health and quality of life.
In addition to starting conversations about suicide and mental health within your firm, leaders can take several steps to prevent suicide and improve mental health among their employees. According to AICPA’s “Ushering mental health into the workplace,” firm leaders should consider covering the cost of therapy and counseling for their teams, encouraging employees to take mental health breaks, and fostering a “culture of caring” in the workplace.
Managers who regularly interact with team members should look for any of the potential warning signs of suicide risk the CDC outlined.
For more ways to support employee mental health within your firm, explore these AICPA resources: