From Helen Robbins-Meyer, Chief Administrative Officer
Some employees are aware, but we want to let all staff know of a tragic incident at a County facility. A member of the public, not an employee, died after falling from a parking structure at the County Operations Center Wednesday. The Medical Examiner has ruled it a suicide. Unfortunately, some employees saw it happen.
Employees’ well-being is extremely important to us, and we understand that events, either directly or indirectly, can take an emotional toll.
We want to remind all staff the Employee Assistance Program can provide counseling services 24 hours a day, every day. There is no charge, and it is anonymous. You can always find a link in the Top Links section of the InSite homepage.
EAP counselors will also be at the COC in person, Friday, Aug. 23. They will be available from 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. at 5530 Overland Ave., Suite 210.
If you are feeling emotional distress, you can also feel free to speak with your supervisor or contact your departmental human resources officer.
County behavioral health experts believe that for every suicide, six other people who were close to the victim suffer lasting emotional trauma.
They also say the great majority of people who die by suicide show warning signs and knowing how to spot them and what to do may help save a life.
Warning signs of suicide may include:
Talking of hurting or killing oneself
Hopelessness or helplessness
Sudden calmness after depression
Divorce, separation, stress on family
Loss of health (real or imaginary)
Loss of job, home, personal security
Increased alcohol or drug use
Isolation from family and friends
Daring or risk-taking behavior
The County also sponsors the Access and Crisis Line where trained counselors offer advice on how to handle a mental health crisis and can help callers with a specific issue. The number is (888) 724-7240.
If a person comes to you for help and is in immediate danger, call 9-1-1.
You should also:
Take it seriously
Listen; suicidal behavior is a call for help
Ask: Are you having thoughts of suicide?
Don’t leave person alone
Urge professional help
Get help right away
When a friend or a loved one comes to you for help, take it seriously. Ask if he or she is having thoughts of suicide or ending it all. That simple conversation can help save a life.
We all pull together in so many ways to accomplish our work at the County. This is a time we’re reminded of the need to support each other. Please continue to take care of yourself and look out for the well-being of your colleagues.