World Suicide Prevention Day: Help Raise Awareness on September 10

World Suicide Prevention DayEvery year, almost 1 million people die by suicide worldwide.  The number of lives lost each year through suicide exceeds the number of deaths due to homicide and war combined.  For each suicide, it is estimated an additional 6 people are affected by the death.  It is likely that you, or someone you know, has been impacted by suicide.

The International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are committed to preventing suicide. These organizations recognize and promote World Suicide Prevention Day annually to bring together individuals and organizations with an interest in suicide prevention and to mobilize efforts to save lives.

World Suicide Prevention Day 2014, September 10, is significant because it marks the release by the WHO of the World Suicide Report.  The World Suicide Report is the most comprehensive, up-to-date record of the current status of suicide prevention internationally.

The theme of World Suicide Prevention Day 2014 is ‘Suicide Prevention:  One World Connected’.

Connectedness is crucial to individuals who may be vulnerable to suicide.  …social isolation can increase the risk of suicide, and conversely, having strong human bonds can be protective against it.  Reaching out to those who have become disconnected from others and offering them support and friendship may be a life-saving act.

Other ways in which you can connect with the global community to raise awareness and help prevent suicide on September 10:

  1. Light a candle near a window at 8 p.m. on September 10 in support of World Suicide Prevention Day, suicide prevention and awareness, survivors of suicide and for the memory of loved lost ones;
  2. Participate in local memorial services, events, candlelight ceremonies or walks to remember those who have died by suicide;
  3. Visit the World Suicide Prevention Day Facebook Event Page at

Source:  International Association for Suicide Prevention

Banking and Finance Employment: Labor Day Update

BLS_logoTotal Financial Activities employment increased by 7,000 in August, which compared with an average monthly gain of 5,000 over the past year, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported last week. Job gains occurred in insurance carriers and related activities. Employment in commercial banking, securities and real estate showed little change over the month. (See Table B-1)

JobsCredit intermediation and related activities showed little change over the month (+500) and lost 51,900 jobs over the past year. Within the industry, commercial banking was unchanged in August (-100) and lost 34,400 jobs over the past year.  Average monthly job loss in credit intermediation and commercial banking is 4,300 and 3,000, respectively.

Securities showed little change over the month (+800) and has increased by 14,900 jobs over the past year.

In August, insurance carriers and related activities continued to trend up in August (+6,200). This is slightly higher than its average monthly job gain of 5,000 over the past year. Insurance and related activities is up by 60,400 over the past year.

Real estate and rental and leasing showed little change over the month (-800) and is up by 42,000 jobs over the year. Average monthly job gain in real estate and rental and leasing is 3,300 over the past year.

Over the year, average weekly earnings of Financial Activities employees have risen 1.7 percent.

Source:  BLS Employment Situation Summary, September 5, 2014


Getting Rid of Performance Reviews: Interview with Professor Culbert

Several years ago I came to the conclusion that the annual performance review and rating process was destructive and should be eliminated from the world of business.

Soon after my epiphany, I read Professor Samuel Culbert’s book, Get Rid of the Perfoimagermance Review!:  How Companies Can Stop Intimidating, Start Managing–and Focus on What Really Matters.  Mr. Culbert’s written argument about performance reviews articulated everything I had come to believe.

I am glad to see Professor Culbert is still speaking on the subject. You can read a transcript of a recent interview with Mr. Culbert by Mark Graban on Graban’s Lean Blog.

For the full interview – Lean Blog:  Professor Samuel Culbert on Getting Rid of Performance Reviews

Workplace Suicide: Measuring the Impact to Co-workers

Suicide in Workplace Series Logo ver 3No one knows how many people are affected each year by the suicide of a co-worker. What is known is that nearly 40,000 Americans (1 million people worldwide) die by suicide each year. The majority of suicide deaths are working-age adults, 24-65 years old.

It has been said that for every suicide, six people – primarily family and friends – are impacted. This number is considered by many to be conservative and to vastly underestimate the effect. What it doesn’t take into account are the work colleagues who also go through the experience. Unfortunately, it is impossible to locate verified statistics on the magnitude of employees impacted by a suicide in the workplace. The research just hasn’t been conducted yet.

So how are co-workers affected by the suicide death of a colleague? It can depend on several factors including the closeness of the relationship with the deceased, the employee’s ability at that point in their life to handle grief, and the deceased employee’s position and sphere of influence.

In today’s society, it is not unusual for workers to spend a substantial portion of each day either at work or connected to work. In many cases, we spend more time with co-workers than with family or friends. Often our co-workers are some of our closest friends. As a result, strong relationships and bonds can be forged with them.

When a co-worker dies by suicide, employees react in different ways. Some are able to grieve, adjust and return to productivity in a relatively short period of time. For others,the impact can be much more profound. Grief is personal and can be deep and complex.

The level of position held by the employee who dies under these circumstances can also be a factor in the effect on the workforce. The death of someone managing a significant part of a company or a major project can affect the future success or profitability of the company and, therefore, the employees’ security. Losing an influential company leader who has been a mentor to others can damage morale.

And the hard reality is that any death in the workplace creates a vacancy. A vacancy creates disruption and, ultimately, vacancies have to be filled.   Replacing someone who has died by suicide can be difficult for management as well as the person who assumes the role. It can take a very long time for the workforce to accept the change and resume anything resembling normal operations.

Given the many ways in which a workforce can be impacted by a suicide, the number of employees left suffering could be in the tens of thousands each year – in the U.S. alone.

Not being able to easily identify and quantify those affected by workplace suicide is part of the difficulty businesses encounter when responding to the tragedies. A shift in approach by employers is needed. Placing more effort toward suicide prevention will reduce the need to recover from this type of devastating loss.


American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Suicide Prevention at Work:  A Fact Sheet

American Association of Suicidology:  Surviving After Suicide Fact Sheet


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