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Is workplace sexual harassment a factor in suicidal behavior?

On Behalf of | Nov 6, 2020 | Employment Law

Mental distress can stem from a number of catalysts. For some, a traumatizing event or events could lead them to experience mental instability and even illness that affects their outlook on life. Recent reports indicate that sexual harassment in the workplace may even lead to suicidal behaviors in those who were victims of such harassment.

Michigan readers may be interested in the results of a recent study looking at suicidal thoughts and behaviors in victims of sexual harassment. Though research has already showed that being subjected to unwanted and inappropriate sexual actions in the workplace can lead to anxiety and depression, the study found that it can contribute to suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts and deaths by suicide. The risk of suicide increases by nearly three times and the risk of attempted suicide increases by over one-and-a-half times after incidents of workplace sexual harassment.

In hopes that these numbers will decrease, researchers encourage implementing new prevention methods in the workplace and mental health screenings for victims. Unfortunately, over 70% of individuals who experienced this type of harassment on the job did not file a report, according to a 2018 survey. As a result, it can be difficult to urge these individuals to get help after the incidents.

Though making a report of sexual harassment at work can seem intimidating or even embarrassing, it could help ensure that the harasser is not able to continue with such actions. If a Michigan employer does not handle such a report effectively, victims still have options for addressing the matter. Taking legal steps to ensure that harassers are held accountable for their actions could help victims find a sense of justice.