The time has come to take larger action to help prevent suicide within our industry. According to the CDC, the construction industry has the second-highest rate of suicide. That is sobering, and what that means is that our industry has the second-highest rate of families missing their fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters. What that means is that there are people among us who are in pain. We can no longer take small actions when we know our people are suffering.
September was Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and PARIC held its first company-wide stand down to talk about mental health. PARIC leadership along with representatives from OSHA, AGC of Missouri, and our Employee Assistance Program shared resources, signs, and symptoms of depression in ourselves and those around us.
The construction industry is unique in that it can have periods of unsteady or seasonal employment which can create stress and financial strain. For those who work on construction sites, manual labor can have repetitive motions and contribute to excessive use injuries leading to potential chronic pain. Physical ailments like these if not addressed can impact one’s mental health. Depending on the schedule needs of a specific job, sleep patterns can be easily interrupted. These are all things that can directly impact mental health.
While we are working to improve diversity within the industry, it is currently predominantly male. Even outside of the construction industry suicide is the second leading cause of death among men, telling us men are less likely to seek help when dealing with mental health issues. I speak directly to the men when I say there is no shame in seeking medical or professional assistance when dealing with these issues. Mental health is physical health. PARIC is taking the responsibility to bring the conversation about mental health into the light and help remove the stigma of accessing professional help. PARIC values its community and most importantly its people, and for that reason, this is one of the most important things we can do in this moment.
Being tough is not ignoring there is a problem. Being tough is fixing the problem with the proper help. If you are feeling vulnerable, there are people available to help. Below are some numbers of recourses with people who would love to talk to you.
SUICIDE HOTLINE: 800-273-8255
TEXT LINE: Text “TALK” to 741-741
SUBSTANCE ABUSE HOTLINE: 800-662-HELP (4357)
SEXUAL ASSAULT HOTLINE: 800-656-HOPE (4673)
TREVOR PROJECT (LGBTQIA) HOTLINE: 866-488-7386