Workplace mass shootings understandably create a similar kind of outpourings of public horror and outrage as all other shooting carnages. Nevertheless, rising mental health issues in this pandemic might be one of the triggers of these rare workplace incidents. While a series of complex situational factors influence such tragedies, the shooter usually exhibits warning signs days or even weeks before the incident occurs.
A sudden and gradual change in behavioral patterns is one of the significant warning signs. On the contrary, common media depictions about workplace bullying and politics are believed to trigger such tragedies. While mental health is still a social stigma and poorly understood, it can be the major factor behind a workplace or public mass carnage event. Let's see the factors that lead to a possible workplace mass shooting and steps for a safe survival.
Workplace Mass Shootings and Mental Illness:
Mass shootings, in general, lead to endless public speculations regarding the suspects' motives. While most high-profile cases receive massive media attention, nobody covers the actual cause of such public tragedies. If we check the 2021 statistics on mass shootings in the USA, gun violence has caused more than 7,500 deaths in the last six months. Studies on such incidents reveal that most shooters start with some impulsive behaviors weeks before the incident.
Some of the common warning signs are:
Violent behavior at the workplace
Begin/accelerate weapon buying and collection
Watching, reading, and gathering information on previously occurred mass shootings
Planning by checking exit points, parking areas, all public areas inside the venue
Precipitating factors leading to such actions may include:
Ostracized by coworkers
Victims of workplace politics
Workplace Shooting – Actions for Safe Survival:
During a Shooting:
During a workplace shooting incident, run and take cover.
Lock and hide in an area and barricade yourself. Always look for a place to hide and stay there until law enforcement officers arrive and evacuate the area.
Create an Emergency Evacuation Plan:
Employers must consider developing an emergency escape and evacuation plan to address such situations at the workplace.
Promote EAP at Workplace:
Employers should always promote their EAP programs in the workplace. An Employee Assistance Program can help employees dealing with mental illness or psychiatric problems.
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