See something, say something: Addressing mental health after Orlando workplace shooting

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By:Erin Lisch
June 5, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Former forensic psychologist Dr. Patrick Cook says Monday’s workplace shooting incident in Orlando is another wake up call to discuss the importance of mental health issues.

Dr. Cook said, "It was no surprise, because it happens so often."

A disgruntled former employee opened fire in an awning manufacturer in Orlando on Monday, killing five people before killing himself.

Police say the gunman had been fired in April, and had previously been accused of assaulting a fellow coworker.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports nearly 2 million people are victims of workplace violence. In 2014, 403 of those cases were homicides.

"When they think that you don't care about them then they're angry and depressed," said Dr. Cook.

Dr. Cook says there are procedures businesses can take to avoid disgruntled workers.

"There needs to be someone there who wants to avoid the problem. This could include saying to somebody, I'm going to have to fire you, but can I help you get another job, how can I help you," said Dr. Cook.

People around Tallahassee expressed to reporters the importance of knowing your co-workers.

Aricka Wright has received training through her work on workplace violence.

She said, "You need to talk to your coworkers, you want to see what's going on with them."

Dr. Cook says if you see a co-worker lashing out on others, seeming depressed, or just acting out of character, you need to speak up.

When asked if she would say anything to someone she worked with, Alyson Ballow said, "I would definitely approach them first and if that didn't work then maybe say something because it's important to feel safe in your job."

"You never know what a smile, saying hey how are you doing today, can do to a person," said Wright.

If you think an issue could develop in the future, Dr. Cook says contact your superiors, human resources, or even law enforcement

OSHA says one of the best protections by employers is a zero tolerance policy for workplace violence.

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