- Workers under 30 are more likely to contemplate suicide than any other age group, according to a new study by Catapult Heath. The analysis of 157,000 patient records also found that millennials are five times more likely to consider suicide than boomers.
- Study results showed that 2.3 per 1,000 patients under 30 had a plan for taking their lives with the intention of carrying it out, compared to 0.4 per 1,000 patients over 60. The average ratio is 0.86 per 1,000 across all age groups. In other study results, workers under 30 were much more likely to be afflicted with depression than older age groups; 4.8% of millennials suffered from the disorder, compared to 1.7% of boomers.
- "The numbers may seem small, but if your company has 5,000 employees, that means that at any given moment four of them are probably seriously considering suicide, and the number is higher if you employ more younger workers," Catapult Health CEO David Michel said in a news release.
Catapult's findings may prompt employers with large numbers of young workers to prioritize the mental and emotional well-being of their employees. This report does not stand alone. The HR Digest reported in 2017 that employee suicides were on the rise. And since then, research has suggested a decline in worker mental health.
In a recent survey by CareerCast, employees revealed they're more stressed today than two years ago, when a similar poll was taken in 2017. Another report by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans found that mental illness — along with substance abuse — was at a two-year high in October 2018, when the report published. The challenge for employers is recognizing behaviors that signal an employee is struggling. Workers gave their managers a bigger vote of confidence in their ability to do this than HR; 76% of employees said they're confident their managers were properly trained on identifying employees who may have a mental health problem, but only 16% of HR professionals agreed, according to an Unum survey.
HR can train managers to spot employees who seem overwhelmed or who are seriously — and possibly suddenly — underperforming on the job. And while diagnosing and treating disorders should be left to professionals, employers can minimize workplace stress by offering flexible work schedules, encouraging employees to take time off, allowing remote work arrangements, providing financial wellbeing programs and adjusting workloads as needed.