Several years ago I had declined to represent an injured truck driver until his wife called me and said she found a suicide note and asked me to reconsider. I did and was able to help him. I believe there is a connection between suicide and workers’ compensation. Clearly the pain of an injury, coupled with the stress of not being able to return to work can cause tremendous psychological strain.
One Texas doctor actually testified at a legislative hearing that prolonged decisions on workers’ compensation coverage in the state had lead to an increase in work’ comp’ related suicides in recent years. “The incidence of those reports has been astonishingly high compared to five years ago,” he told the legislators, “when they were, to my knowledge, nonexistent.”
Below are some signs that you or somebody you know may be at risk. This list of warning signals comes from the website of the American Psychological Association. If you see any of these signs, seek help from a doctor or therapist, or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). This government hotline connects individuals in suicidal crisis to their nearest suicide prevention and mental health service provider.
Suicide is preventable. Be concerned if someone you know:
- Talks about committing suicide
- Has trouble eating or sleeping
- Exhibits drastic changes in behavior
- Withdraws from friends or social activities
- Loses interest in school, work or hobbies
- Prepares for death by writing a will and making final arrangements
- Gives away prized possessions
- Has attempted suicide before
- Takes unnecessary risks
- Has recently experienced serious losses
- Seems preoccupied with death and dying
- Loses interest in his or her personal appearance
- Increases alcohol or drug use.
For more information on suicide prevention, check out these helpful resources:
- The Suicide Prevention Resource Center’s Role-Specific Guides
- SAVE (Suicide Awareness Voices of Education)
- Suicide Prevention Lifeline
- The Dave Nee Foundation