The Associated General Contractors of America has launched a new public awareness campaign to help combat high suicide rates and improve mental health within the construction industry.
According to the association’s CEO, Stephen E. Sandherr, there are 53.2 suicides per 100,000 workers compared to a national construction workplace fatality rate of 10.2 per 100,000 workers. Additionally, construction workers are five times more likely to die by suicide than workplace safety hazards.
“We cannot stand by while a silent epidemic of suicide takes place within our industry,” says Sandherr. “We want to reduce the stigma of mental health issues in this industry, let people know it is okay to ask for help and, ultimately, save lives.”
For its awareness campaign, the association will air a series of public service announcements featuring construction workers who struggled with mental health issues. The videos seek to urge construction workers not to be afraid to seek help.
Along with the videos, the association will launch a quarterly forum to share examples of successful mental health and suicide prevention efforts. The association will also debut a collection of resources for construction companies and their workers. The collection will contain information about suicide prevention and mental health awareness.
The resources will be available online and free of charge to all construction firms.
The new effort is being coordinated by the association’s Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Task Force, which is comprised of construction professionals from across the country.
“The bottom line is safety isn’t just about wearing the right protective equipment,” says Sandherr. “It is about understanding you are not alone and that it is okay to ask for help.”