Suicide prevention has gained significant ground over the last several years as awareness of its importance has increased. Suicide has become more common – particularly in certain populations – in the modern era, creating a tremendous need for suicide prevention counselors and therapists. Suicide prevention is needed and necessary in a great many industries, fields, and institutions. Here, we’ll discuss five workplaces for suicide counselors.
College and university is more challenging than ever before, and college students are at increased risk of suicidal ideation. Students aged fifteen through twenty-four are at higher risk of suicide than their non-student counterparts, making the role of suicide prevention counselor an indispensable one on high school and college campuses.
Suicide counselors may work in tandem with college administrators to develop suicide prevention programs, on-campus therapy options, and to develop both preventative and emergency teams on campus in order to see to the mental health and stability of the students they serve.
2. Civil Service and Private Company Offices
Workplace suicide has seen a spike in the last several years, and those in particular professions – such as doctors, law enforcement agents, security guards, or toll both workers – are at higher risk for suicide. Other factors such as financial stress, feelings of being overworked, social or familial isolation and exposure to harsh work environments also elevate the risk of suicide, in addition to potential easy access to various methods of suicide, such as firearms or medications.
Suicide prevention counselors are being optioned by a number of companies to prevent workers from taking their lives, and see workers to the appropriate mental health personnel to see to their long-term care. Suicide counselors can also work with companies and civil or public service offices to develop occupation-specific suicide prevention programs.
3. Homeless Shelters
Homelessness takes an incredible toll on the human mind, and it is no secret that a huge number of homeless citizens suffered from mental illness before ever becoming homeless. Suicide risk is immensely high among the homeless, particularly among homeless youth, veterans, and elders. Suicide risk among older homeless citizens is often complicated by substance abuse.
Homeless shelters and drop-in centers offer suicide prevention counselors ample opportunity to do meaningful work, and to assist homeless citizens in overcoming crises and accessing mental health care via public assistance programs where available.
4. Veteran’s Homes and Hospitals
Veterans are at high risk of suicide, especially veterans that have seen combat action, been prisoners of war, or been lost in no man’s lands. Suicide among veterans is heavily driven by post-traumatic stress disorder and succeeding depression, and is also very high among women who served in the armed forces that were victims of sexual trauma – whether at enemy hands or by their compatriots.
Entities that serve veterans are paying increasing attention to the risk of suicide among veterans, particularly veterans who are homeless. VA hospitals very often have mental health teams available to treat veterans and help prevent crises from escalating.
5. Nursing and Rehabilitative Homes
Elders are at high risk for suicide due to social isolation and depression, particularly among those who have lost their spouse. Deteriorating health and cognitive issues increase the risk of suicide ideation and planning. The risk is highest for elderly men.
Preventing elder suicide may see the suicide prevention counselor working in nursing homes, rehabilitative homes, and assisted living facilities. End of life care is increasingly taking a holistic approach, rather than only dealing with the physical health of seniors – and many mental health teams that work with elderly populations also include crisis and suicide prevention counselors.
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The role of the suicide prevention counselor is becoming an increasingly important one as research underlining the prevalence of suicide comes to public attention, granting suicide prevention counselors many opportunities to work with a variety of populations and to conduct meaningful and important work in society.