According to new data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the suicide rate among federal employees has reached its highest level in 15 years. The data shows that suicides accounted for 28% of the 124 Federal employee job-related deaths in 2018. In the private sector, suicides only accounted for 5% of the 4,779 employees who died on the job. Suicides counted in the study occurred on the work premises or occurred offsite but could be definitively linked to employment.
While the federal workforce has remained relatively the same since 2011, self-inflicted intentional fatalities among federal workers have more than doubled from then to now. Federal employees who work in law enforcement continue to lead the number of suicide deaths. 15 of the 16 reported suicides in 2016 were federal employees working in roles related to national security. In 2018, 7 of the 35 reported suicides were committed by federal employees working for agencies outside national security.
Although BLS doesn’t gather data on the reasons federal employees choose to commit suicide, many believe that job-related stress is a major contributing factor. Federal employees often work in occupations that have high levels of stress, especially for those who work in law enforcement. In fact, between 2007 and 2018, U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported that more than 100 of its employees died by suicide.
To respond to suicides among federal workers, the government has set up the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) to further advance the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. At the end of 2019, the Federal Communications Commission announced it would simplify the national crisis hotline number to be 988 instead of the current 10-digit number.
Speaking about the government’s efforts to address increasing suicide rates, Dwight Holton, CEO of suicide prevention nonprofit Lines for Life, said: “Three-digit access to crisis services represents a national recognition that seeking help for behavioral health and suicidal crisis is just as much a part of life as seeking help for fire, for injury, or for other health and wellness need.”
Compassionate Federal Employee Representation
Our compassionate lawyers understand that federal employees have to deal with high-stress situations every day as part of their jobs. That is why our seasoned lawyers at Pines Federal are committed to using our 50+ years of experience to defend the rights of federal employees throughout the nation so they can obtain the reasonable accommodations and disability benefits they need to maintain their mental health and wellbeing. If you have questions about a federal employment law matter, don’t hesitate to give us a call so we can take a look at your case and build a strong legal strategy to protect your best interests.
Give us a call today at (800) 801-0598 to schedule your case consultation with Pines Federal today.