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ASSP Members Appointed to Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention

Oct 01, 2018
SU_CIASPLogoMembers Jerry Shupe and Rick Zellen were recently appointed to represent ASSP on the Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention by the Construction Practice Specialty. The alliance’s goal is to provide and disseminate information and resources for suicide prevention and mental health promotion in construction.

Shupe, a professional member of ASSP’s Colorado Chapter and a member of the Society’s Construction Practice Specialty, explains that suicide is prevalent in the construction industry. “The construction industry has one of the highest rates of suicide among all professions,” he says. “As safety professionals, we have an opportunity to further our mission of helping people by learning about risk factors, identifying warning signs and providing avenues to get people resources that are available to them if there is concern of suicide. A great national resource that all safety professionals should be familiar with is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.” 

Rick Zellen, a professional member and past president of the Colorado Chapter, 2017 Region II Safety Professional of the Year and a member of the Utilities, Management, Construction and Risk Management Insurance practice specialties, also spoke about the importance of the alliance in the construction industry.

“I accepted [this position] because I wanted to be a part of the movement that is helping to break the stigma surrounding mental health and building a culture that moves people who are facing pain, that would drive them to consider suicide as a solution, to be aware of the assistance that’s available,” he says. “I lost a close friend to suicide about 10 years ago. I had absolutely no idea that he was in that much pain. I’d like to think someday, because of the work the alliance is doing, we will see a significant reduction in suicides in the construction industry.”

Shupe and Zellen’s roles in the alliance will be to provide educational materials, such as articles and resources to help, to the Society’s Construction Practice Specialty to raise awareness.
Norman Ritchie

This is an issue that generally remains underappreciated until it impacts you directly. We maintain a comprehensive list of workplace focused depression and suicide resources on our website at: http://www.vpsigroup.com/MentalHealth.htm

Since we spend more of our awake time in our workplace than anywhere else it provides lots of opportunity for problems to be detected before something disastrous occurs. Feel free to spread this information as far and wide as you think could be useful.

Cheers,

Norman Ritchie

vPSI Group, LLC

Houston TX USA

Sue Trebswether
Hi Norman. Thanks for sharing this information. ASSP is taking a new look at total worker health initiatives and mental health concerns are part of that. As ASSP President Rixio Medina noted in his September 2018 President's Message on TWH (https://www.assp.org/news-and-articles/2018/09/01/get-behind-total-worker-health), OSH professionals need to be more cognizant of mental stressors that can affect employees’ behavior inside the workplace.

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