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VIEWPOINT: Suicide in the Construction Industry: It’s Time to Break the Stigma

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It’s a tough topic to talk about, but one that we simply can’t ignore: suicide in the construction industry. As someone who has spoken openly about my own journey surrounding mental health and suicide, I believe it’s important to continue the conversation and raise awareness about this issue.

The construction industry has a disproportionately high rate of suicide compared to other professions. In fact, a recent study found that construction workers are at a 3.5 times higher risk of suicide than the general population. This is a startling statistic and one that should be taken seriously by everyone in the industry.

President and CEO Brian DiSabatino discusses suicide in the construction industry to raise awareness about this issue.

Brian DiSabatino | PHOTO COURTESY OF EDIS

Even more startling – suicide is the leading cause of death of construction workers on the job. Higher than even falls, electrocutions, and crushed-by incidents.

So why is suicide so prevalent in the construction industry? I wish we knew precisely so that we could end the issue here and now. But it’s more complicated than that. There are a number of factors that are likely to contribute to this. Firstly, the job can be incredibly demanding, physically and mentally. Long hours, high stress, and physical labor can take a toll on even the toughest of individuals. Secondly, there’s often a culture of “toughness” and “machismo” in the industry, which can make it difficult for workers to speak up about their struggles. This can lead to feelings of isolation and hopelessness, which can ultimately lead to suicide.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. As an industry, we need to work together to break the stigma surrounding mental health and suicide. We need to create an environment where workers feel comfortable talking about their struggles without fear of judgment or ridicule. This means providing access to mental health resources, promoting a culture of openness and understanding, and educating workers about the warning signs of suicide.

It’s also important for employers to take an active role in addressing this issue. This can mean providing training for managers on how to recognize and respond to mental health issues, offering employee assistance programs, and creating a supportive work environment. That’s why at EDiS, we’re committing to mental health awareness and suicide prevention for the long-term. We’re going to talk about these things until the conversations are no longer uncomfortable.

As we approach May, which is Mental Health Awareness Month, it’s important to recognize the impact that mental health can have on the construction industry. This is why the National Safety Stand-Down Week, which takes place from May 2nd to May 6th this year, is the perfect opportunity for us to come together and address this issue. During this week, employers and workers across the country will be taking a break to talk about safety and health issues, including mental health. By participating in this event, we can raise awareness about suicide in the construction industry and take steps to prevent it. Let’s use this opportunity to prioritize the well-being of our workers and make a positive impact on our industry.

Ultimately, we all have a responsibility to look out for one another and support each other through difficult times. Suicide is a serious issue that affects us all, and it’s time for the construction industry to take action. Let’s break the stigma and start talking openly about mental health and suicide. I hope you will join me and the EDiS team. Together, we can create a safer and more supportive industry for everyone.

Need help now? Call the suicide and crisis national lifeline at 988. https://988lifeline.org/talk-to-someone-now/

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