Wednesday: The Deadliest Day for Suicide
It wasn't that long ago that Monday was considered the most likely day for people to attempt suicide. Now, a new study suggests that hump day, Wednesday, is the deadliest day for suicides.
The study was conducted by researchers at the University of California, Riverside (UCR), and appears online in the journal Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology. Using the U.S. Multiple Causes of Death Files, the researchers analyzed suicide data from a five-year period--between 2000 and 2004.
They found that nearly 25 percent of suicides occurred on Wednesdays, while the lowest number of attempts--11.1 percent--occurred on Thursdays.
"There has been a definite shift from Monday to Wednesday," said Augustine Kposowa, professor of sociology. "Wednesday is a strange time, but it holds true for men and women, and for whites and non-whites."
According to Kposowa, job dissatisfaction is one reason people are more likely to commit suicide on Wednesdays. He explains that more Americans are increasingly viewing their jobs as something to survive, not something they enjoy.
These feelings may be exacerbated by the fact that global economic competition is making people feel more trapped. "The old protections no longer apply, and no one can take anything for granted anymore," said Kposowa.
He adds that increasingly, uncertainty about job insecurity comes with heightened levels of stress. Wednesday - the proverbial hump day or middle of the week - is when job stress is most likely at its highest.
The study also revealed that people are more likely to commit suicide in summer (26 percent) than in winter (23.8 percent). Spring ranked as the second most likely season for suicides (25.8 percent).
Hump Day Helpers: How to Survive Wednesdays
Other research has found that job or workplace dissatisfaction are more likely to cause illness. One study conducted by the Lancaster University Management School and Manchester Business School found that job dissatisfaction can cause emotional burnout, anxiety, poor self esteem - and depression.
Here are five ways you can cope with job stress and lower your risk of depression and suicide:
1. Improve time management. If you're overwhelmed by your duties and spending more hours at work, devise more efficient ways to perform daily tasks. Also, consider unnecessary distractions that steal hours out of your week.
2. Learn to say no. Even in a competitive market it's still OK to turn down additional duties or projects if you feel you can't cope. Ask yourself this question: "Which is more important, career advancement or maintaining my health?"
3. Report a workplace bully. If a colleague or a manager is making your job unbearable, you should report it to human resources. Even if you lose your job, you'll have created a paper trail that you can use if you decide to take legal action. To learn more about workplace bullying visit http://www.bullyonline.org/workbully/usa.htm.
4. Look for a new job. Although it may be more difficult during tough economic times, it's not impossible. Put the word out to your network, browse classified ads or job postings in your city, or consider starting your own company.
5. Ask to work from home. Sometimes it's not the actual job, but the environment. Put together a proposal with convincing reasons why you should work from home and how it can benefit the company. Present it to your boss at an opportune moment, for instance, when you've just successfully completed a project or increased revenue for the company.
6. Practice positive thinking. Try not to focus on every little thing you think is wrong with your job. Look for the real benefits you get from it. These may include your salary, location, or privileges, such as career development courses that may improve your ability to get a better job.
7. Consult with your doctor. People who suffer from depression are more at risk for suicide. Seek medical attention as soon as possible - you cannot treat clinical depression on your own. Medications, such as antidepressants, and counselling can effectively treat anxiety and depression and improve your outlook - on the job and in general.
University of California, Riverside press release, "UCR Study Contradicts Popular Belief About Seasonality of Suicides." (http://newsroom.ucr.edu/news_item.html?action=page&id=2134).
Lancaster University Management School press release, "Research reveals that dissatisfaction at work causes illness." (http://www.lums.lancs.ac.uk/news/6596/cooperresearch/)
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