Supporting someone returning to work who has attempted suicide
A person returning to work after a suicide attempt is likely to feel isolated and alone. They may also feel ashamed or embarrassed.
Any genuine care and concern you can offer will help the person feel connected and can lower the risk of another suicide attempt. Include them in meetings and social events or ask their opinion on work issues – anything to make them feel like a valued member of the team.
Keep in touch with the employee on a regular basis to see how they are – whether they are taking time off or have returned to work.
Supporting someone returning to work after a suicide loss
Many employers are compassionate and offer flexibility and understanding. However, others have an unrealistic view of how long it takes to ‘get over’ a significant loss like suicide and may not be tolerant of the impact of grief.
Unrealistic expectations from an employer are particularly unhelpful as they create significant stress and may result in a valued employee leaving the workplace.
It's also good to keep in mind that there may be an inquest following the suicide and this can take place months, even years after the death, possibly re-awakening intense grief.
Please note: Web copy adapted from The American Hospice Foundation, The Bereaved Employee: Returning to Work by Helen Fitzgerald and Anglicare's Living Beyond Suicide brochure, Helping an Employee Return to Work