In 2020, a mission-driven group of volunteers from across the construction industry came together with the goal of saving lives. They collaborated to launch the inaugural Suicide Prevention Week for the industry — a week dedicated to raising awareness about the higher-than-average number of suicides in the construction industry, and to providing resources to help prevent those deaths.
During Construction Suicide Prevention Week, organizations, like you, have the opportunity to participate in this important movement as we all join an effort to get life-changing information to the people who need it, lift the stigma surrounding mental health conversations, and come together as a community to save lives.
Suicide is a leading cause of death among working age adults in the United States. It deeply impacts workers, families, and communities. In the U.S. there are approximately 123 suicides per day which means there is one death every 12 minutes.
The construction industry has the second highest rate of suicide in the United States at 53.3 per 100,000 workers according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Fortunately, like other workplace fatalities, suicides can be prevented.
A major roadblock to addressing the issue of suicide in the construction industry is the stigma associated with the concepts of depression, mental health challenges, and seeking help. This stigma makes it incredibly difficult for those who may be considering suicide to get the help they need.
Use the resources provided, on our website, to plan activities with your workers during Construction Suicide Prevention Week.
Here are some specific ideas of ways your organization can participate:
• Share Who to Call in a Crisis, which is a list of organizations and phone numbers that anyone can call when they need help. Many people may not know who they can turn to when they need help and this simple act can put that information in front of those who need it.
• Host one or more toolbox talks on topics like construction suicide dangers, reducing stigma, recognizing warning signs, how to listen, and how to seek help.
• Post your efforts on social media. By sharing how your organization is promoting this campaign you are proactively working to stamp out the stigma around mental health and can prevent deaths by suicide.
• Hand out, or hang up, the fact sheets to let workers know all the options.
When developing and improving workplace safety programs, it’s important to remember that addressing mental health issues can be as important as preventing physical health hazards on the job.