It’s Time to Start Talking About Suicide
Suicide Prevention Month should be a big topic for your construction business this September. What are you doing about it?
The construction industry has the second-highest rate of suicide, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – affecting an alarming 53.3 workers per 100,000. (The highest industry is of similar work, in mining, quarrying, and extraction.)
With September being Suicide Prevention Month, Suicide Prevention Week commencing on the 5th, and Suicide Prevention Day on the 10th, now is the time to start talking.
Here’s how your business can bring awareness and save lives.
Why the Construction Industry Is Falling Victim
Though much effort and recognition is being made to encourage more females into a male-dominated industry, the construction landscape is a male-dominated culture. And statistically, men have higher rates of suicide – between the ages of 25 and 54.
However, there are other factors specifically linked with construction jobs that are worsening suicide rates for the industry, such as:
- Often isolated roles
- Sleep disruption
- Stigma attached to mental health
- Chronic and physical pain caused by manual labor
- Hazardous working environments creating ways to commit suicide
- High-pressured role
- Poor working conditions
- Some have low or inconsistent pay or unsteady employment
Construction is suffering from a concoction of issues that must be addressed. Here is what your company can do to raise awareness for suicide prevention, and turn a taboo subject into a life-saving conversation.
Recognize That Mental Health Is a Challenge
Construction companies must recognize that their employees struggle with mental health issues because of the physical demands on their bodies and minds, and that it is an issue that must be dealt with. Understanding an average working day for your people on the ground will help you understand that communication between colleagues could make a colossal difference to their wellbeing.
This can only be encouraged if the business takes an active stance in encouraging employees to reach out for available help provided.
Make it Easy to Access Resources
Reaching for help can start with a conversation – but professional support and resources must be easily accessible for sufferers to get the help they need. MATES in Construction and Mates in Mind are emerging models in the US. They have already proven hugely successful in the UK and Australia in helping businesses and their workforces access immediate help and continual support.
The Construction Industry Alliance For Suicide Prevention (CIASP) and National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) can also provide plentiful resources and information. Share their details with all your staff.
Educate and Train Managers and Employees
Many sufferers who are having suicidal thoughts do not openly discuss it. It is therefore essential that managers and employees are trained and educated to spot the signs of a colleague suffering in silence, and know what to do to help.
Mates in Mind, for example, has plentiful resources such as powerful infographics that can be placed around the workplace and most critically discussed routinely in all correspondence. Routine discussion will turn a taboo subject into a well-educated, strong, supportive workforce looking out for each other’s wellbeing.
Encourage Equality Between Physical and Mental Health
Much focus goes into the physical wellbeing of construction workers, with rigorous health and safety measures applied to prevent costly mistakes and time off work. The exact same principles should be applied to mental health. The consequences are just as damaging to individuals and the business.
Change Your Company Culture – Make It OK to Talk About Mental Health
Your company culture is in control of how powerful suicide prevention can be in your business. This culture is an attitude, feeling, and belief of how you expect your team of people to work together. With this engrained into your workforce, and with an authenticity regarding the care of your people, you can ensure that all employees feel a sense of belonging – that your culture is a safe place for them to work safely, talk, and find the support they need.
Pivot Workforce Are Here to Help
Here at Pivot Workforce, we advocate for a strong partnership between our skilled candidates and quality construction clients. We want to get construction businesses and their people talking, so that quality of products, services, and, most importantly, lives, are improved. We are always here if your business needs advice. Contact Pivot Workforce today for assistance.