This past year has acted as a catalyst for change in many of the ways that workplaces function.
In the article, "COVID-19: One More Reason to Take Mental Health Seriously," author Bruce Morton calls on contractors to consider another much-needed change in the construction industry: mental health support.
According to CDC data, construction and mining have the highest suicide rates of all occupations. The suicide rate for working-age adults is on the rise in the U.S., increasing by 34% from 12.9 suicides per 100,000 workers in 2012 to 17.3 in 2015.
Morton stresses the importance of speaking with employees about mental health and encouraging them to be open about their own experiences.
He describes the relief he felt when talking to a colleague about his personal experience with his son's mental health struggles and his surprise when the colleague confided in him about his own family's struggle with mental health.
"I was able to provide this colleague some information that, I hope, will help his family in the long run," Morton says. "Such talks are rare in the workplace."
Messaging about mental health and resources for support should be shared in standard safety messaging, Morton implores. He calls on employers to strive to reduce the stigma of mental health issues. "We will not solve this problem overnight, but we can take steps now that will make a real difference," Morton says.
Listen to Morton read the full story or turn to pages 24-25 in the October 2020 issue of Professional Safety
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