Amy Patillo

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In the United States alone, suicide accounts for nearly 40,000 lost lives per year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. That's an average of one suicide every 13 minutes. The truth is that anyone can be at risk. Sometimes you NEED help. Sometimes you ARE the help.

Thirty-three percent of people say they know someone who has died by suicide, and as a leader, you play an important role in creating a safe and open atmosphere where workers can feel comfortable talking about sensitive topics such as suicide and mental health, according to the Healthier Workforce Center of the Midwest (HWC). Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. The suicide rate in the construction industry is four times higher than the national average.

Learn to recognize the warning signs, start a conversation, and integrate this into the culture of your workplace.

  • Males represent 79% of all US suicide deaths.
  • Suicidal thoughts, planning and attempts are significantly higher among individuals age 18-29 than among those age 30-plus.
  • The number of military suicides exceeded the number of those killed in combat.
    • Data compiled by the Costs of War Project, founded by researchers at Brown University and Boston University, showed that an estimated 30,177 active-duty personnel and veterans of the global war on terrorism have taken their own lives, compared to 7,057 deaths in combat.
  • The highest suicide rates in the U.S. are among Caucasians, American Indians and Alaska Natives.

(Data from the Suicide Prevention Corp.)

How can you effectively raise awareness and create prevention about such a sensitive subject?

University of Missouri Extension and our partners listed below provide training and education to raise awareness about behavioral and mental health. The "YOU OK? Suicide Prevention Campaign for the Workplace and Stress Management" is a toolkit that provides information and resources. The toolkit can also be mailed to you for use in your workplace.

Information, toolkits and on-demand videos are available at no cost at the "YOU OK? Suicide Prevention Campaign" website, and additional resources are available on the MU Extension Labor and Workforce Development page on Facebook.

For more information contact Amy Patillo at or Karen Funkenbusch at

  • Healthier Workforce Center of the Midwest

  • "YOU OK? Suicide Prevention Campaign

  • MU Extension Show-Me Strong Farm Families

  • Mental Health First Aid

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health