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#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – Does #SexualHarassment Raise The Risk Of #Suicide?

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New research shows the outcomes when sexual boundaries are violated.

Photo by Mihai Surdu on Unsplash

The “#MeToo” movement has brought a lot of attention to #sexualharassment.

The #MeToo movement has brought a lot of attention to #sexualharassment in recent years and the impact it can have on businesses and society, but most importantly on individuals.

While previous research has found that #sexualharassment in the workplace is linked to physical health symptoms, sickness absence, and poorer #mentalhealth, such as psychological distress, #depression, and #anxiety, little research has been conducted on its impact on #suicidalbehavior. A new study published by The BMJ found that workers who have been exposed to #sexualharassment—”undesirable advances or offensive references to what is generally associated with sexual relations” in their workplace—are at greater risk of #suicide and attempting #suicide.

#JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

A team of Swedish researchers decided no workplace can be considered safe unless it’s free of harassment and that this issue couldn’t be sidelined any longer. They set out to determine how exposure to workplace #sexualharassment is associated with #suicidalbehavior in a large population of Swedish workers. The study was based on a Swedish Work Environment Survey database of 85,205 #men and #women of working age who completed a questionnaire about work-related #sexualharassment between 1995 and 2013.

Workers were asked if they had been subjected to #sexualharassment in their workplace in the past 12 months either from superiors or fellow workers or from “other people”—#patients, clients, passengers, and #students. Any suicides or #suicideattempts by these workers over an average follow-up period of 13 years were identified from administrative registers. Overall, 4.8% of the workers reported workplace #sexualharassment during the previous 12 months: 1.9% of all #men and 7.5% of all #women. Those exposed were more likely to be younger, single, divorced and in low paid but high strain jobs (high demands but low control), and born outside of Europe.

A total of 125 people died from #suicide and 816 made a #suicideattempt during the follow-up period, which translates to a rate of 0.1 suicides per 1000 person years and rate 0.8 attempted suicides per 1000 person years. After adjusting for demographic factors, exposure to workplace #sexualharassment was found to be associated with a 2.82 times greater risk of #suicide and 1.59 times greater risk of attempted #suicide. The increased risk estimates remained significant after adjusting for health and work characteristics, and there were no significant differences in rates between the sexes.

#Sexualharassment from others was found to be more strongly associated with #suicide than #sexualharassment from superiors or fellow workers. Still, the authors of the study say that workplace interventions focusing on the #socialwork environment and behaviors could contribute to a decreased burden of #suicide.

This study underscores the need to consider workplace #sexualharassment as both an occupational hazard and a significant public health problem, according to American researchers. They contend that new ways to prevent and address workplace #sexualharassment are urgently needed. They also insist that victims of #sexualharassment should receive #mentalhealth screening and treatment to mitigate risks for subsequent #mentalhealth concerns and suicidality.

Reach Out For Help

A 2018 CareerBuilder survey found that the majority of victims of #sexualharassment continue to keep quiet. Of those who have been sexually harassed, 72% didn’t report the incident, and 54% didn’t confront the person responsible for the harassment. Workplace #sexualharassment affects a victim’s #mentalhealth and emotional well-being. It needs to be addressed in a sensitive, empathetic, and more emotionally aware manner.

If you are struggling with workplace #sexualharassment (virtually or face-to-face), speak directly with the other person involved or bring the incident to the attention of your human resources officer or manager. If neither of these steps is feasible, there are a variety of external resources that offer legal and #mentalhealthsupport:

#NationalSuicidePreventionLifeline provides 24/7 free and confidential support for people in distress. 800-273-8255.

Photo by Lum3n on Pexels.com
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