A Cultural Shift Is Needed to Combat Depression Among Construction Workers
Depression among construction workers is a huge issue for the industry, where suicide rates are twice the national average.
National Suicide Month focuses our thoughts on this issue. However, it’s a subject that deserves more attention throughout the year.
In this article, we examine eight ways in which construction workers can overcome suicidal thoughts.
National Suicide Prevention Month
In the United States, the National Suicide Prevention month is September. It was started in 1987 by President Ronald Reagan to raise awareness about suicide prevention and reduce stigma associated with mental illness. It’s particularly relevant to the construction industry, where suicide rates are twice the national average.
Why Construction Workers Are at Risk for Suicide
The rate of suicide of construction workers is among the highest of any industrial sector. According to the CDC, the suicide rate for men in the construction industry is 49.4/100,000. That’s twice the suicide rate for civilian working men in 32 states.
Construction workers are at risk for suicide because of several factors, including social isolation, low pay, high-risk work environment, and long working hours. It’s stressful work that also often leads to alcohol use as a coping strategy.
The pressures that come with occupational industries can lead to a lack of fulfillment and cause people immense stress or even depression. In response, some countries have implemented different measures like psychological first aid training and mental health services for construction workers to help them through these tough times.
What Can Construction Workers Do to Prevent Suicidal Thoughts?
It is important for construction workers to remember that they should not feel like there is no other option other than suicide. However, it can be difficult to reach out for help. Many people in construction jobs do not feel confident approaching others about their mental health concerns. There’s a fear that they will be mocked or stigmatized. This can make it difficult to be honest with yourself and others about how you are feeling.
Here are eight strategies to help you stop thinking about suicide, and take positive action instead.
1. Talk about your feelings with someone you trust
Talk about your feelings and emotions with someone you trust. This can help you process them and understand what triggered your suicidal thoughts. This self-awareness is a crucial step to improving your mental health.
2. Volunteer for a cause that’s important to you
Volunteering for a cause which means something to you is a valuable way to combat thoughts of suicide. It helps increase your self-esteem and improve your mental state in general.
Many people volunteer at shelters for homeless people, or in hospitals. Others volunteer to help animals and the environment.
3. Participate in a suicide support group
A suicide support group is a place where people can get support. It gives people a chance to talk to other people who are going through similar situations.
4. Talk to your doctor
Talk to your doctor if you are considering taking your own life. They will try to help you through the decision and give you helpful advice on how best to proceed with your journey.
5. Exercise more
Exercise is known to increase levels of serotonin in the brain as well as diminish levels of cortisol – both hormones that are linked to depression and anxiety.
6. Socialize more
Many turn to social media to reach out to their friends for support, but they may find that the support they get is only temporary. Instead get out into the world. Socializing with others in person can help you beat suicidal thoughts – and you will develop friendships that could last a lifetime, with people who will support you.
7. Look for the positive every day
One way to combat depression and suicidal thoughts is by finding positive signs in everyday life. These signs might be small, like noticing the beauty in nature. They might also be bigger like having an important conversation with your family member or partner about feeling better. Focusing on the positive each day will help you become more motivated, and this will help to improve your mental health.
8. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a 24-hour hotline where you can call and speak to a trained counselor. It is available to all Americans in need of emotional support.
If you are finding it difficult to speak to others about how you feel, you don’t have to be alone. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 if you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide.
Be Part of The Cultural Change the Construction Industry Needs to Combat Suicide
Suicide is a subject that many people don’t like to talk about. It’s one of those topics that we’re uncomfortable with and tend to avoid bringing up. However, it’s important to try and break down the stigma associated with talking about suicide to help prevent it from happening.
The cultural change that is needed in the construction industry is the responsibility of all of us. Even a small change in attitude can make a big difference.
If you are struggling with your mental health, reach out.
If you think a co-worker is showing signs of depression, reach out to them. Let them know you are happy to listen, without being judgmental. It really is ok to not be ok.
Here at Pivot Workforce, we are part of the change.