You’re not alone.
If the nation isn’t talking about guns, it’s talking about mental health. Well, guess what? The construction industry isn’t immune.
According to a recent report from the CDC, construction has the second-highest suicide rate and the highest total number of suicides. While we spend a lot of effort on suicide prevention and mental health efforts for children, the rates of suicide are much higher among middle-aged people, especially men.
What are some of the risk factors? Culture, unstable hours/income, high rates of alcohol and substance abuse, high-pressure and risk-taking work environment. I can keep listing things, but if you’re in the industry, you get the picture.
What in the world can we do?
Pay attention. Please.
Pay attention to your coworkers, your employees, your Supervisors.
Has their behavior changed recently? Increased use of alcohol/drugs? Unexplained or frequent absences, more withdrawn or depressed, not eating? Are they giving away prized possessions?
Show them you care. Yes, it sounds cheesy. Yes, it can also save someone’s life. Ask how they’re doing and if they need someone to talk to. Don’t push it, but let them know you’re available and if they do reach out, listen.
Hang up posters with mental health resources for employees. Issue newsletters about the topic. Host a toolbox talk.
Here are a few to start out with, all anonymous: