Weekend Edition: May 19th

General / General : Eleanor Haley

In truth, I’m running out of creative ways to introduce the ‘Weekend Edition’.  You see, it happens every Sunday.  This means every 7 days I have to come up with a clever way to tell you the following post contains the distillation of anything timely, topical, or interesting we encountered throughout the past week.  Meh…I’ve got nothin’

1.  Suicide Rates Hit Home For Michel Martin:  I have one of those weird, ‘you don’t know me, but I know you’ relationships with Michel Martin.  Not in the stalker sense, but in the sense that I listen to her on the radio 5 mornings a week on my way to work.  So I felt especially proud when she spoke out on the three year anniversary of her brother’s suicide in NPR’s ‘Can I Just Tell You’ series.  Michel Martin isn’t buying our societies shock and awe over the rise in suicide rates and I kind of agree.  Suicide has been a problem since always and Michel asks “How many more funerals do we need to have, before we look the problem in the face, and fix it?”

2.  A Manager’s Guide to Suicide Postvention in the Workplace:  This 20 page PDF is brought to you by the American Association of Suicidology and the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention in partnership with the Carson J. Spencer Foundation and Crisis Care Network.  All that to say, it’s legit.

Those who find themselves in HR and Management positions may not have any specific knowledge on how to handle the death of an employee, yet they are often looked to for support and counsel in its wake.  At the very least, we expect them to handle the event with respect, compassion, and empathy.  In reality, these may be unrealistic expectations as they are often as clueless as they next guy regarding matters of crisis-intervention and death.

This resource specifically provides tools for managers who have experienced the death of an employee, client, vendor, or family member of an employee by suicide.  Those in positions of leadership, don’t ever assume you won’t need this resource.  I implore you, look at it now and start to think about how you will integrate it in the event someone in your workplace dies by suicide.

3. All the Lonely People:  Ross Douthat writes about the aforementioned suicide rates and discusses its possible link to loneliness.  The fabric of community has started to fray and the author wonders if the effects of this are irreversible. 

4.  Shaking off Loneliness:  More on the loneliness front.  Did you know that loneliness is tied to a lack of self-control when it comes to things like eating, drinking, smoking, speeding, and engaging in other risky behaviors?  Psychologist John T. Cacioppo discusses research findings related to loneliness in his aptly named book “Loneliness” which he wrote with William Patrick.  Loneliness and social isolation can also be tied to raising levels of stress hormones, increasing inflammation, cognitive declines, illness, and early death.  Yikes!  You can go to the article to read the nitty gritty.

Grieving individuals, take note because you may be at a greater risk of experiencing loneliness and isolation than ever before.  Loneliness and isolation are common after experiencing a death due to changing family and social structures, the loss of someone you relied on for connection, and feelings that others don’t understand or don’t want to hear about what you are going through.  The article suggests small steps towards feeling connected with others like complimenting someone, coming to someones aide, and volunteering.  They suggest these specific steps because they provide you with what they call a “helper’s high” and force you to take action.

5.  Cleaning Vietnam Memorial Proves Healing for Veterans:  Speaking of feeling connected through volunteerism, members of ‘Rolling Thunder’, a group dedicated to raising awareness about American prisoners of war and those missing in action, find community, connection, and healing through the bi-monthly cleaning of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C.  Many members of ‘Rolling Thunder’ are Vietnam veterans themselves and know individuals memorialized on the wall.  They consider this duty a privilege as it allows them to honor the fallen and enhance the comfort of future memorial visitors.

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