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Even minor forms of workplace mistreatment may up suicidal thoughts in employees

Mistreatment increases suicidal thoughts and that reduces employee engagement. © Shutterstock

If you're getting such suicidal thoughts, we have a few tips to help you overcome the negative thoughts and come out unscathed.

Ignoring a colleague in the workplace may do more harm than intended, if the person is suffering from depression or bipolar disorder. Even minor forms of workplace mistreatment, such as avoiding eye contact or excluding a co-worker from conversation, can amplify suicidal thoughts in employees with mood disorders, revealed a new study.

Previous research had suggested that workplace mistreatment reduces employee engagement. "But our paper provided an explanation about why this was occurring. Mistreatment increases suicidal ideation (thoughts) and because of that, work engagement is reduced," said researcher Kayla Follmer, Assistant Professor at the West Virginia University in the US, as quoted by IANS.

Follmer and her team surveyed 279 adults who are employed 20 or more hours a week and diagnosed with depression or bipolar disorder. The participants were asked to rate various experiences relating to workplace mistreatment, suicidal ideation and job engagement over several months.

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"Suicide and depression are very taboo, dark topics. It can be heavy at times to research, but that's the responsibility we bear to bring these experiences into awareness for organisations and to tell them we can do better. And it's our responsibility to do better for those individuals who need us," Follmer was further quoted as saying.

The findings were published in the journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.

How to get rid of suicidal thoughts

According to the World Health Organization, close to 800 000 people die due to suicide every year with one death every 40 seconds. This is unfortunate because suicides are preventable.

The link between suicide and mental disorders (in particular, depression and alcohol use disorders) is well established, but a tragic event, violence, abuse, or loss and a sense of isolation may also trigger suicidal thoughts in some people. If you're getting such thoughts, we have a few tips to help you overcome these thoughts and come out unscathed.

Talk about it and seek help

In case suicidal thoughts come to your mind, talking about how you feel can help. There are a number of people who can support you and help you come out of this dark phase. If you don't feel comfortable talking to a friend or relative, see a psychiatrist or counsellor. Just don't bottle up your emotions, they'll burst out fiercer.

Avoid potential triggers

If a person is depressed, many things can act like triggers and amplify suicidal thoughts such as loneliness, drug abuse, and mistreatment at the workplace. So, if you feel low, try to spend more time with family or friends. Stay away from alcohol and drugs. Give yourself time to ask for help and seek treatment. If the trigger is some health condition, taking your medications and keeping in touch with your doctor may help.

Eat well and exercise regularly

If you are fit and healthy, you will feel good too. So, take care of your overall health to avoid negative thoughts. Follow a well-balanced diet and exercise regularly. Stress can be a trigger for suicide. Sleeping well is vital in stress management. Make sure you sleep for at least 8 to 10 hours every night and do things that makes you happy.

Surround yourself with people

Having someone around you at all times means you won't have the opportunity to hurt yourself. If you get suicidal thoughts, share your feelings with people around you so that they are aware of your situation and are ready to help in any eventuality.

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