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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Are workers stressed to death?

Scary news: the suicide rate for men and women ages 45 to 54 has risen 20 percent in the last decade, far outpacing changes in nearly every other age group, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

In an article today in the New York Times, health writer Patricia Cohen attempts to figure out why we're seeing this increase in mid-life suicide. She writes: "For health experts, it is like discovering the wreckage of a plane crash without finding the black box that recorded flight data just before the aircraft went down." The guesses range from lack of counseling for this age group to skyrocketing use and abuse of prescription drugs to the growing pressures of modern life.

I spoke about the trend with organization pychologist Ken Siegel. He points out this this age group is in their prime working years. "If suicide is the pinnacle of destructive coping with stress, this study is really alarming.''

What do you think of this trend? Should employers do more to help employees manage stress and depression?

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