Suicide is a prevalent issue in the United States that is sometimes overlooked and only acknowledged when it is too late. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the 12th leading cause of death in the US. Men are more likely to die by suicide 3.88x more than women due to the societal norm of a "tough" attitude.
Bringing awareness to the severity of suicide occurrences is crucial to solving the issue. In 2020 alone, there were an estimated 1.20M suicide attempts, 45,979 of those resulting in death. Taking care of mental health is just as important as physical health. Spreading the message that you are not alone is crucial to saving a life.
Suicide Prevention in Construction
The stress of meeting deadlines, working conditions, and personal factors can significantly affect a person's mental health. According to the CDC, construction has the second highest rate of suicide compared to other occupations. The report indicated that roughly 53 construction workers out of every 100,000 lose their life to suicide.
With the construction industry having a widespread substance abuse problem and being male-dominated, it is important to spread awareness of mental health and suicide prevention.
Substance abuse generally leads to a depressive state or can occur when someone is feeling depressed. These addictions continue to negatively affect their state of mind and lead them down a dark path.
A "tough" attitude is the a typical norm in this industry, so it is essential to spread the word that taking care of your mental health is not weak but one of the toughest thing you can do.
Mobile Medical Providing Resources for Suicide Prevention
Having resources available for your workers regarding mental health and suicide prevention is crucial. Creating an environment where they don't feel isolated and alone is the first step in saving a life.
Provide Mental Health Professionals On-Site
Providing employees with a place where they can comfortably process and express their emotions can improve their mental health and outlook on life. Having a professional to talk to and get things off their chest can help them understand their emotions.
Workers can book appointments to have longer, more in-depth conversations with a professional. Or, if they need an ear for a short discussion, they can also do that. Sometimes scheduling an appointment can seem too official and make workers nervous, so if they want a quick, unofficial conversation, they can do that without worry.
Mental health professionals also have relationships with outside providers. If they determine that a worker needs more help than they can provide, they can recommend they go to an outside clinic. Giving someone multiple options is crucial to mental stability.
Provide Resources Around the Site
Resources such as posters around the work site with hotline numbers and additional information can be the difference between life and death. People are more likely to utilize the information provided when it is located on site, especially when they are posted in the bathroom. They are generally alone and won't feel shame or embarrassment when they write down the number. People feel vulnerable in this area, so providing information to help them realize they are not alone can help prevent negative thoughts and actions.
These resources can also be available around the on-site medical locations. Having them in these areas allows workers to ask questions directly to the professionals. The professional can give them additional information whether they are curious about the statistics or need help.
Provide Other Wellness Initiatives
Providing your workers with wellness initiatives for their physical bodies is also a great way to increase mental health. If they are feeling great physically, it typically helps them feel better mentally.
With addiction being prevalent in construction, having a smoking cessation program or peer support groups can be helpful. Addiction to any substance severely decreases mental health, so providing the resources to stop addiction can help with the suicide crisis.
Movement is a wonderful way to get someone out of a negative headspace. Physical initiatives such as exercise incentive programs can also help employees feel great. An incentive to lose weight is sometimes all a person needs to kick start their exercise journey.
Blood pressure monitoring and education on heart health can also pinpoint whether or not a worker might struggle with anxiety. Teaching them about the signs of stress and how to fix them can improve their heart and mental health.
Erase the Stigma of Mental Health
The stigma behind getting support for mental health is beginning to decay. It will only continue to decrease if suicide awareness continues to spread. Bringing that awareness to job sites is crucial and could potentially save a life. There is no shame in getting help, and making that clear to all workers is the key to reducing the lost lives.
If you feel you are in an unsafe mental mindset, call or text 988 or text TALK to 741741. You are not alone, and people are willing to talk with you. Do not hesitate to contact someone. You are worth it.