The construction industry rates as the second highest rate of suicide in the United States, at a rate of 53.3 per 100,000 workers according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). In the U.S. there are approximately 123 suicides per day; that breaks down to 1 death every 12 minutes.
Suicide is a critical issue in our communities. Suicide rates are climbing, and in the A/E/C (architecture/engineering/construction) industry, we lose people—fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters—to suicide at six times the national average. Many things feed this epidemic and, while no one program or tool will eliminate suicide, putting resources and support in the right places, upstream, can help make a difference.
What Makes Construction Workers Vulnerable?
- We work in roles that are isolating
- Employment is dependent on the economy
- Spending large amounts of time away from family and friends
- Chronic pain caused by manual labor
- Stress due to time constraints, work environment, and poor sleep
- Prevalence of alcohol and substance abuse
- Stigma of mental illness
These are but a few factors. It’s important to recognize the signs and symptoms. Once recognized, you can facilitate the proper help to ensure we all go home to our friends and family each day.
You don’t have to be a mental health worker to help someone who is struggling.
- Talking about suicide
- Self-loathing, self-hatred
- Withdrawing from others
- Decreased productivity
- Talking about being a burden
- Extreme mood swings
- Increased tardiness
- Don’t ignore it—speak up if you’re worried or see the signs
- Show your concern; if you’ve noticed someone acting differently, talk to them. Find out why they don’t seem like themselves
- Respond quickly if you feel a friend or coworker is in crisis
- Offer help and support
- Contact the suicide prevention hotline or crisis text line
Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Presentation Tools
- Spencer Thomas Guidebook to Training Programs
- Construction & Suicide Prevention Action Steps
- Suicide Prevention in the Workplace
- Dimoff Fall Symposium Presentation 2017
- Gina Excellence in Mental Health Care
- L4L Presentation MH in the Workplace Conference
- Moreland Capuia
- Spangler Keynote
- Suicide Technical Package
- Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Resource Directory: Mental-health, suicide-prevention, addiction recovery, crisis intervention, domestic abuse, veterans’ and other resources
Washington/Multnomah/Clackamas County Information
- Tri County Area Community Resources
- Tri County Area Mental Health Resources
- Tri County Area Mental Health Training Resources
Additional Resources from Around the Web
- Get Trained to Help: Free training opportunities: Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR), Adult Mental Health First Aide (AMHFA), Youth Mental Health First Aide (YMHFA), Counseling on Access to Lethal Means (CALM), Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST), Honest, Open, Proud (HOP).
- Trauma Intervention Program (TIP) Northwest: A group of specially trained citizen volunteers who provide emotional aid and practical support and resources to victims of traumatic events and their families in the first few hours following a tragedy. TIP Volunteers are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. 24-hour contact number 503-940-7997.
- 2-1-1: Free, confidential referral and information service that connects people specialists who will help find local health and human services. Available 24 hours a day, seven days a week by dialing toll free 2-1-1 or visiting 211.org.
- Sally Spencer-Thomas
- QPR Institute
- ManTherapy.org: A lighthearted look at mental health, offering individuals a way to look into their mental health without stigma or the need to be vulnerable in front of others.
Downloadable Support Materials
- Suicide Prevention Lifeline
- Crisis Text Line
- Lines for Life
- Veterans Crisis Line
- Army Suicide Prevention Training
- Suicide Awareness Pamphlet for Leaders
- SafeBuild Alliance Tool Box Talk 1
- SafeBuild Alliance Tool Box Talk 2
- SafeBuild Alliance Tool Box Talk 3
- Suicide Prevention in the Workplace: Blueprint or Roadmap?
- Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Toolkit
- Mental Health and Workplace Safety
- Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Resources
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
- A suite of jobsite suicide awareness posters that can be printed for your workplaces
- Article on suicide prevention and the need for mental-health support in the construction industry
Construction Industry BluePrint
- A look at suicide prevention in the workplace
- There are countless other resources available on the Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA) website related to prevention of suicide in our industry
Video: Denver Fire Department Making Suicide Prevention Part of Total Wellness
Video: Dr. Paul Quinnet, 2017 Mates in Construction Mental Health Conference