Dr. Candia-Bailey: The Importance Of Suicide Prevention Training In The Workplace

by | Feb 27, 2024 | Featured, Resiliency Essentials | 0 comments

We are saddened about the news of Dr. Antoinette “Bonnie” Candia-Bailey’s death by suicide on January 8, 2024. Dr. Candia-Bailey was the Vice President of Lincoln University, a historically Black university (HBCU) in Jefferson City, Missouri. “HBCUs are a source of accomplishment and great pride for the African American community as well as the entire nation… [they are] any historically black college or university that was established prior to 1964, whose principal mission was, and is, the education of black Americans” (U.S. Department of Education, n.d.).

            As we close out Black History Month and invite the start of Women’s History Month, Dr. Candia-Bailey’s death has sparked a conversation about the unique struggles Black women endure and the mental health challenges that occur as a result. With the known facts that Black American adults are 20% more likely to experience serious mental health problems, such as major depressive disorder or generalized anxiety disorder and the drastic increases in rates of suicide among Black Women over the past 20 years, it is paramount to continue these important conversations about suicide prevention and awareness (Leblanc, n.d.) (Joseph et al., 2023).

            An employee suicide is always a traumatic experience that must precipitate an evaluation of what an organization can do to prevent tragedies like these in the future. Whether a large or small employer, the first step toward preventing employee suicide is for the organization to acknowledge that one or more of their employees may attempt or even die by suicide. In 2021, there were approximately 1.70 million suicide attempts (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020). It is estimated that most Americans will experience a suicide loss over the course of their lifetime.

            Along with a self-audit to assist organizational leadership to become more mindful about suicide and how awareness and prevention can fit into their workplace, organizations should also prioritize suicide prevention training. Learning about the warning signs, symptoms, and how to help someone in a suicidal crisis is the first step in ensuring that workplace tragedies like Dr. Candia-Bailey’s can be prevented. Workplaces can implement informed best practices around organizational mental health policies when they are properly equipped with the facts of suicide prevention (QPR Institute, 2018). Effective, evidence-based suicide prevention trainings include Question, Persuade, and Refer (QPR); Talk Saves Lives; and L.E.T.S Save Lives. For more information on suicide prevention training and resources, please contact the Resiliency Essentials team at [email protected].

If you or someone you know is in need of help, please call or text the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline: 988


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