May is Mental Health Awareness Month

One of the construction industry’s least discussed and biggest safety challenges often is overlooked—death by suicide, according to For Construction Pros. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show the suicide rate for men in construction is five times greater than the rate for all fatal work-related injuries in the construction industry, which highlights the importance of prioritizing mental health.

For more than 20 years, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has recognized Mental Health Awareness Month every May to increase awareness about the vital role mental health plays in our overall health and well-being and provide resources and information to support individuals and communities who may need mental health support.

Construction has one of the highest suicide rates of any industry, and this can be attributed to factors such as long hours, difficult completion schedules, job-related risks of serious injuries and mental health often being stigmatized. Some construction companies have begun investing in initiatives focused on mental health, offering resources that support employees and talking about mental health to destigmatize the topic.

Several studies show when employees believe they are supported and are happier at work, businesses see an increase in productivity, creativity and retention. But when employees are facing mental health challenges along with long, difficult workdays, businesses experience an increase in mistakes. The mental health cost calculator released by the National Safety Council and NORC at the University of Chicago shows companies that support mental health see a return of $4 for every $1 invested.

Everyone needs to be involved in the process of embracing mental health as part of a safety culture. It is important to do the following.

  • Start the conversation. This helps break the stigma and creates an environment where people feel psychologically safe to ask for help.
  • Provide employee resources. This includes offering resources and support—such as employee assistance programs and mental health hotlines—and training employees to recognize the signs of mental health issues.
  • Lead by example. All employees have a role in prioritizing mental health, whether it is advocating for more robust safety programs, including mental health in the company’s safety strategy or implementing safety practices daily.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration offers resources and tools for Mental Health Awareness Month. Learn more

Date : Jan. 01, 0001


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