For those of you who know me, you know I am passionate about giving back: to my community, to the industry associations I am involved with and as a mentor to those in the construction industry.
One organization that I care deeply about is the Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention. Did you know that more construction workers die by suicide each day than by all other workplace-related fatalities combined? In the construction industry, mental health awareness and suicide prevention are just as important as job safety issues.
Recently, BerganKDV signed a pledge to STAND up for suicide prevention and address it as a health and safety priority by creating safe cultures, providing training to identify and help those at risk, raising awareness about the suicide crisis in construction, normalizing conversations around suicide and mental health, and ultimately decreasing the risks associated with suicide in construction.
As part of our commitment to helping raise awareness on this important topic, here are 10 things your company can do to bolster protective factors to help prevent mental health problems from surfacing, identifying employees who may be facing overwhelming life challenges and how to respond effectively when mental health or suicide crises occur:
- Identify internal champions who will lead the effort of mental health promotion and suicide prevention.
- Improve mental health literacy.
- Teach coping skills for life challenges.
- Build a caring culture.
- Promote Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) and other mental health services.
- Screen for mental health conditions and substance abuse.
- Train supervisors and others on how to have difficult conversations.
- Promote the National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
- Manage behavioral health crises in the workplace.
- Provide effective and compassionate grief and trauma support after a suicide death.
More in-depth information and resources to support your efforts in these steps are available in this CONSTRUCTION + SUICIDE PREVENTION: 10 Action Steps Companies Can Take to Save Lives Guide. I encourage you to download it and think about ways you can STAND UP with me to prevent suicide.
There’s no single cause of suicide. It most often occurs when stress and health issues converge to create feelings of hopelessness and despair. Warning signs specific to construction workers include:
- Decreased productivity
- Increased conflict among co-workers
- Near hits, incidents and injuries
- Decreased problem-solving ability
- Increased tardiness and absenteeism
If you are worried about a friend, family member or co-worker or want to learn more about how your organization can get involved to help save lives, start here or reach out directly to me and I will help get you connected to the resources you need to help your employees. Let’s work together to create a zero-suicide industry.