Last Week, Max Margolis, CSPP Coordinator, and Natalie Cordova, CSPP Outreach and Engagement Committee Member, attended the Construction Working Minds Summit in Denver, Colorado. The summit was the first nationwide summit that brought construction industry leaders together to address the industry’s unique mental-health challenges.
Denver’s Channel 9 News did a story about the historic nature of the conference.
Here are some highlights and resources from the conference.
Day One: Working Minds Training
The pre-summit included an all-day training on implementing the Construction Working Minds Suicide Prevention Program. Their program was created in partnership with United Suicide Survivors International, the University of Colorado’s Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Depression Center, and Sally-Spencer Thomas.
The training is grounded in sharing stories and resources to deal with the construction industry’s increased risk for suicide. While statistics, like men in construction die by suicide at 3.5X higher than the general population, are shocking, the training emphasized that “statistics are merely aggregate numbers with the tears wiped away.”
The goals of the training are to:
- Explain why suicide prevention is a vital health and safety priority
- Recognize warning signs and risk factors
- Learn how to help.
All 33 participants participated in group discussions, role-plays, and presented portions of the presentation to the group.
Day 2 Highlights: Construction Working Minds Summit
Cal Beyer, Vice President of Workforce Risk and Worker Well Being at Holmes Murphy & Associates, kicked the day off with his “Catalyzing and Unleashing a Movement.” The presentation highlighted the data that compelled the construction industry to take on suicide prevention and build a caring culture.
Reflecting that construction suicide prevention is an international movement, Jorgen Gullestrup, Founder MATES in Construction & Chief Executive Office for Mental Health Lived Experience Peak Queensland in Australia, presented. He focused on how peer-to-peer models can transform construction site culture from individuals help-seeking and referring to one where providing and accepting help become broad cultural norms. The breadth of his construction experience combined with philosophy and evidence backing MATES approach to suicide prevention is inspiring and impressive. Along with visiting the MATES website, you can learn more by checking out his presentation to the Alberta Construction Safety Association (ACSA) last year.
Following the morning presentations, there were breakout sessions and table discussions on implementing construction suicide prevention programs, launching peer support programs, and construction-specific mental health & well-being care.
Brent Darnell, Owner of Brent Darnell International, closed the summit with a presentation about Primal Safety. He connected emotional well-being with safety and emphasized humans’ primal need for connection. He shared easy ways to foster community and build trust. You can learn more about his program here. If you are looking for a two-minute laugh, check out his unique and humorous approach to emotional intelligence.
CSPP: Mental Health Visionary Award
At the summit’s award ceremony, Construction Working minds awarded the CSPP with the Mental Health Visionary Award for a Regional Organization. They produced a short video of our effort and honored us with a transparent curved glass plaque, which is super tough to photograph! Below are two pictures of the award. We hope to share some professional shots of the award soon!
Cal Beyer and Dr. Sally Spencer Thomas presented the award to the CSPP.