Workplace Bullying – Cause for Increase in Suicidal Thoughts - Dream Health

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Thursday 1 October 2015

Workplace Bullying – Cause for Increase in Suicidal Thoughts

Workplace bullying occurs when an employee is continuously mistreated by his colleagues and counter parts in the workplace that mostly psychologically and sometimes physically affects him or her. Research has shown in most of the cases that the perpetrator is someone who is more senior and holds more power over the victim.

A study in Norway suggests that people who are victims of bullying at the workplace are more likely to consider suicide than those who do not experience an unfriendly work environment. Researchers conducted a survey using a sample of around 1846 employees and kept track them from 2005 – 2010. This study showed that although less than 5% of them showed suicidal tendencies during that time, the chances that they were likely to do show these signs after being bullied became double.

According to leading study conducted by the author Morten Birkeland Nielsen of the National Institute of Occupational Health and the University of Bergen, which shows how bullying is linked to suicidal thoughts. The perception of being bullied on the working place comes before suicidal intentions and is not an result.

Around the world at least 800,000 people commit suicide, making it the leading cause of deaths, which is more worrying according to the researchers. The researchers note that most of the suicide attempts are linked with psychiatric disorders, most people with mental health disorders do not usually take their own lives and they are forced to do that. According to them, the connection between bullying and suicidal thoughts is somewhat like the chicken and the egg – it is tough to decide which of them came first.

To solve this mystery, he surveyed some workers in 2005, 2007 and 2010 and asked them about their workplace environment and mental health. The researchers defined three main features of workplace bullying – the victim must be at the end of the unwanted social behavior, he must be exposed to it for a long period of time; where the occurrence and intensity increases and the victim must feel that they cannot escape from the situation. During the study, the average number of workers who reported bullying was 4.2% - 4.6%, while the occurrence of suicidal thoughts was from 3.9% - 4.9%. No major differences were reported on the basis of sex or age.

People who said the researchers that they had thought about suicide at the begin of the study were not likely to report to report bullying anon than those who had never thought of commiting sucide. However, one drawback of this survey is asking the workers to correctly remember any experiences with bullying or suicidal thoughts, say the authors. According to the researchers, there are some workers who are more likely to consider taking their lives due to some specific predispositions, while others are more likely to consider suicide because of recent experience with harassment.

Continuous exposure to bullying causes changes in the brain, said one of the researcher and the director of the Workplace Bullying Institute located outside Boise, Idaho. The brain becomes flooded with glucocorticoids, also called as stress hormones, which reduce a person’s capacity to think clearly and rationally.

Psychiatrists usually overlook the factor of bullying and focus on relationships or financial problems, where bullying harassment could be the final straw before resorting to commit suicide.

Workplace bullying harassment may be a precursor to suicidal ideation, whereas suicidal ideaseems to have no impact on subsequent risk of being harassed . Regulations against bullying harassment should be integrated into work-related legislation and public health policies.

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