Suicide is such a strong and scary word. Who would have thought that an unhealthy working environment would push an employee so much that he or she would contemplate doing this? According a Norwegian study, victims of workplace bullying, or those exposed to such hostile working environments, have a higher risk of thinking suicidal thoughts.
Morten Birkeland Nielsen, professor at the National Institute of Occupational Health and the University of Bergen, as well as lead author of the research paper, said that the study was evidence that workplace environments has an impact on a person’s mental health.
The study, which ran from 2005 until 2010, followed a sample of 1,850 people all throughout the five year period. One of the findings of the research indicated that less than 5 percent of the participants reported thoughts of suicide during the period, however, they were twice as likely to do so after becoming victims of work place bullies.
Another highlight of the research showed that the perception of being bullied at work is actually a precursor of suicidal thoughts and not a consequence, according to Professor Nielsen.
To other people, this situation may seem too extreme. However, for a bullied employee to contemplate taking his or her own life means that the workplace abuse has been going on for some time. Although, for some victims of workplace bullying, the period of abuse may not matter. It is the gravity of the act, or that feeling of helplessness that they can’t stop the situation, that may push a victim to think about suicide as an alternative to end the bullying.
Experts are now calling on organizations and businesses to take a closer and harder look at the issue of workplace bullying. Learning to spot it, implementing anti-bullying programs and cultivating a positive working environment will help to protect the employees, and ultimately create a more productive organization.
To learn more about the details of the study, click here.