Rising Above An Epidemic
BREAKING THE SILENCE
The construction industry is experiencing some of the highest rates of suicide in our nation. As a Union, we are concerned about both our members’ physical and mental health as safety priorities. Having the support of other people is one of the best resources that we can have in times of struggle. It is time to break the stigma and make mental health a priority on our job sites.
Why are we, as construction workers, more vulnerable?
- Our work is often isolating
- The economy dictates our employment
- Sometimes we have to sacrifice seeing our friends and family for long periods
- The physicality of our work can lead to chronic pain
- Production timelines and our work environment can cause stress
- Substance and alcohol use can mask the issue
- Cultural stigmas around mental illness instigate secrecy and isolation
Make suicide prevention a health and safety priority on your job site.
Is leadership talking about this critical issue? Ask your job site steward to make sure that this epidemic is being discussed, alongside encouraging a supportive job site culture. Stress management and self-care are essential topics to cover during safety meetings. Mental health has a direct impact on the quality of life of people, in addition to impacting work productivity.
Make sure suicide prevention resources are available in the job shack. Call your Council Representative to get posters and cards out to your job.
Do you see signs that someone is struggling?
Often the process of talking through a problem leads to solutions. Practice your listening skills. Ask your co-worker if they are okay or if they need help.
It can be difficult, but asking direct questions and approaching the topic of suicide is vital in letting that person know that they are not alone and that support is available.
Direct them to qualified resources such as:
National Alliance On Mental Illness
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Veterans Crisis Line
For information on your health care coverage and the Employee Assistance Program, contact your trust.
Oregon and SW Washington Carpenters Trust
William C Earhart Co, Inc
Carpenters Trust of Western Washington
Covering: WA, ID, MT, WY
Alaska Carpenters Trust Funds
Welfare & Pension Administration Services, Inc