Construction industry tackles mental illness to keep workers safe

Over the years, there has been a stronger focus on mental health in Ohio and the rest of the United States. Many workers who battle with anxiety, depression, ADHD and other forms of mental illnesses have stepped forward to voice their experiences and raise awareness. Employers have also increasingly become involved to provide assistance to employers.

According to Forbes, when it comes to tackling mental health problems in the workplace, construction workers take the lead. The industry began to pay attention to statistics that highlighted the following trends:

  •          The second leading cause of death for men in America is suicide; construction workers are predominantly male.
  •          Men in occupations that require skilled labor are 1.5 times more likely to commit suicide.
  •          Suicide risk is higher for people who have jobs that do not require post-secondary education.

Add the fact that men in construction work often pride themselves on being too tough to discuss feelings and you have a recipe for mental health disaster. By acknowledging this, the industry has managed to make strides towards rectifying the situation, so much so that Forbes considers them exemplary models for other industries.

The Construction Industry Blueprint is the main tool used in the field for this purpose. The blueprint provides managers with useful information to assist with suicide prevention. One primary effort it asks managers to undertake is to change the culture of the workplace and reduce stigma around mental health.

In the years to come, this may have tremendous effects on the efforts to reduce workplace injuries in construction, which is currently considered one of the most dangerous jobs in America. How so? According to the National Institute of Health, an increased risk of injuries correlates with psychiatric disorders. The 2016 study found that early detection and treatment of psychiatric problems was key in the prevention of injuries.  

Mental health illness is not the only reason accidents occur so frequently on construction sites. However, by addressing one of the major underlying issues, the possibility for positive change can not be ignored.

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