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Increased Suicide Rates: Compensability and Prevention

occ news Nov 28, 2018

Suicide rates in the United States have risen nearly 30% since 1999, and mental health conditions are one of several factors contributing to suicide, a compensable workers’ compensation condition.

It has been reported that from 1999-2016, suicide rates increased significantly in 44 states, with 25 states experiencing increases of up to 30%.

In 1981, the Supreme Court of New Jersey held that an employee’s death by suicide is considered compensable under the Workers’ Compensation Act of New Jersey where the suicide is shown to be the result of the employee’s becoming dominated by a disturbance of mind caused by the employee’s original work-related injury and its consequences, including severe pain and despair, which are of such severity as to override normal, rational judgment.

Relationship problems and losses have been reported as having a significant impact on suicides. A physical health problem existed in 22.3% of reported suicides. Additionally, a job or financial problem existed in 16.2% of suicides.

Comprehensive suicide prevention activities need to be integrated into workers’ compensation care programs to address the full range of factors contributing to suicide.

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