Why Stop. Talk. Prevent?
Mental health is seldom discussed in the workplace...it's time to change that.
The numbers are staggering...I'm a construction guy, so I am most focused on my industry. But this is an increasing world-wide problem.
In construction, our rate of alcohol and drug abuse is twice the national US average.
Our rate of suicide is nearly four times the national average.
In construction, we pay a lot of attention to "The Focus Four" - Falls, Struck By, Caught in Between, Electrocution. In 2015, these four hazards were responsible for about 80% of the over 1200 fatalities in the construction workplace. Common wisdom is that if you focus attention on these four issues, you can save a lot of lives.
I believe that's true.
In 2015, CDC data indicates that over 4300 people who identify with construction - architects, engineers, laborers, carpenters, operators, business owners, among others - took their own lives. Not necessarily in the workplace - but these are men and women who undergo many of the same stressors every day. Friends and co-workers who weld, erect, excavate, or design or coordinate - and who sit next to you at lunch or in meetings.
How many overdoses are suicides? How many suicides are overdoses? How many suicides result from the stigma of addiction? What types of mental health issues contribute in some way to either?
If we could prevent ONE QUARTER of the suicides in the construction industry, that's over 1000 lives saved. More than the Focus Four.
Should we change our focus?
Or at least add it to the discussion?
I believe so.
It's time to Stop what we are doing. It's time to Talk about the issues. It's time to take action to Prevent Addiction and Suicide - both of which can be so closely tied to Mental Health.
Please - share the resources. Encourage communication. Pass it on.
Too many die. Too many are affected. It's time to create change.
Because One is Too Many.
Embrace Life. Embrace Physical and Emotional Safety.