OSHA, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Ally to Promote Workplace Mental Health

OSHA and AFSP will develop information and products on workplace mental health and suicide prevention awareness in multiple languages.
OSHA and AFSP will develop information and products on workplace mental health and suicide prevention awareness in multiple languages.

Suicide is a leading cause of death among working-age adults in the United States, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP)  signed an alliance agreement earlier this month to promote workplace mental health and suicide prevention awareness.

During the two-year agreement, OSHA and AFSP will develop information and products on workplace mental health and suicide prevention awareness in multiple languages that reflect diversity in the workforce and encourage workers’ sense of belonging. Participants will share best practices and effective approaches for promoting workplace suicide prevention awareness, such as AFSP’s “Talk Saves Lives” programming.

“Suicide… deeply impacts workers, families and communities,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker. “OSHA is proud to join with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to eliminate barriers to getting help and promote the mental wellbeing of all workers.”

Alliance objectives also include exploring opportunities for AFSP to contribute to a new chapter on Traumatic Stress for OSHA’s Safety and Health Management System directive, updating and expanding on OSHA’s Preventing Suicides webpage and sharing information on suicide prevention, mental health and opioids during Suicide Prevention Awareness Month in September and Construction Suicide Prevention Week, which was Sept. 5-9.

Maggie Mortali (left), VP, Programs and Workplace Initiatives, American
Foundation for Suicide Prevention and OSHA Assistant Secretary Doug Parker.

OSHA and the AFSP Northeastern Division have an existing alliance in the agency’s New England region  that provides healthcare professionals, businesses, trade organizations and others with information and training resources to raise awareness of well-being and mental health issues related to occupational deaths by suicide. AFSP assisted OSHA with developing the agency’s “Suicide Prevention: 5 Things You Should Know” poster, which encourages everyone to be aware, pay attention, reach out, take action and learn more to help prevent suicide.

AFSP is a voluntary health organization giving those affected by suicide a nationwide community empowered by research, education, and advocacy.

Through the Alliance Program, OSHA works with organizations such as trade and professional associations, labor unions, educational institutions, community and faith-based groups, and government agencies to share information about OSHA’s initiatives and compliance assistance resources with workers and employers, and educate workers and employers about their rights and responsibilities.

Learn more about OSHA resources on preventing suicides in the construction industry.

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About Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the Global EHSQ Content Lead for Intelex Technologies. Formerly the Content Director for EHS Today, she has been writing about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990. Her work as a journalist and editor has been recognized with national and international awards. She has been interviewed about occupational safety and health for national business publications, documentaries and television programs; has served as a panelist on roundtables; and has provided the keynote address for occupational safety and health conferences.

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