I know you don’t need anyone to tell you – least of all, me – that your employees still are feeling the stresses and strains of the sluggish economy, at work and likely at home as well. Unfortunately, even as economic indicators begin to climb, another statistic is ticking upward as well.

Sadly, in 2008, workplace suicides jumped 28% to 251 incidences, the highest level since the government began tracking them, according to the Department of Labor. Suicides in the workplace in 2008 were at their highest level since the government started tracking the numbers.

Worse, the numbers are the latest available, so they don’t capture any of last year – when layoffs and benefits cuts were at their post-recession peak.

Charles Lattarulo, clinical director for EAP provider Harris, Rothenberg International, told msnbc.com that suicides and attempted suicides surged after December 2008 among the 2,600 organizations and 8 million employees the firm covers.

“We used to get these types of calls once a week, maybe once every two weeks. Now we get a suicidal call every single day,” he said. “Our EAP counselors have been transformed this past year from EAP counselors to crisis counselors because it’s so common now.”

Although Lattarulo wouldn’t say how many workers actually committed suicide, he told the Web site that the number of suicides and attempted suicides were up 75% in 2009 from the previous year.

These stats are beyond heartbreaking. And I know you’re out there communicating your company’s benefits – EAP included – with everything short of skywriting. But click here and here for a couple refresher articles from EBN on fighting recession-related stress and depression.

In the comments, share your advice on how best to reach employees in crisis before it’s too late. 

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