For the first week of Suicide Prevention Month, I am sharing more about what building space for conversations around suicide and mental wellness looks like. The construction industry is excellent at incorporating moments into the workday for answering questions, addressing concerns, and discussing physical safety. It’s equally important to ensure employees have a similar opportunity to discuss managing the stresses of working in construction and where to turn when additional support is needed. While mental health discussions may feel harder to give than a typical safety talk, here are three ways to make talking about mental health easier!
One of the easiest steps a company can take is to promote the message that it’s okay to talk about suicide. Putting up posters with general information about suicide warning signs and the importance of de-stigmatizing mental health around the worksite normalizes and elevates mental health conversations.
Also, consider putting mental health resources up in private spaces, like the bathrooms, where people might feel more comfortable accessing them. These materials often will spark conversations amongst workers and let them know it’s okay to talk about suicide and mental health at work.
Incorporate the Message!
You likely already have multiple ways you communicate safety messages to those on your job site. Utilizing these same forms of communication to talk about suicide prevention sends the message to workers that mental health is just as important as physical safety. When safety professionals explicitly talk about the link between physical and mental health, it makes an impact! Using existing avenues, such as toolbox talks, email blasts, handouts, onboarding materials, and social media, consistently spreads the message because these are already part of your regular safety program.
Many trainings exist around mental health and suicide. Some are more about awareness raising and some offer practical tips on how to help yourself or others through a mental health crisis. You can check out our training page to learn about the construction-specific programs and resources we offer.
When coworkers become trained on mental health together, they gain shared language and health literacy around the topic. This can make it easier for someone to notice when they or a coworker needs support.
Mental health training creates space for people to ask questions about mental health and dispel myths that exist in our society. Take a look at our training page to see ongoing training opportunities.
All year round, CSPP is here to help the construction community generate hope and reduce suicide. Please go to our Contact Us page to get in touch.