Preventing Suicide

A purple and teal ribbon with the text "September is National Suicide Prevention Month. osha.gov"

 

As a mental health provider, I have seen firsthand the consequences of not paying attention to mental health, substance use and suicide prevention in workplaces. Unfortunately, workplaces are often overlooked when the reality is that mental health impacts workers’ productivity and performance, as well as the employers’ operations and mission. Employers need to recognize the misconception that pre-existing mental health conditions are not a concern in the workplace. Ignoring the warning signs of an individual’s mental health struggles could potentially escalate to the risk of suicide.

Suicide is a complex and distressing issue that touches all demographics in all industries. While suicide prevention awareness has grown there is more we need to do to address this issue in the workplace. The workplace is a significant part of people’s lives because of the time we spend there and often acts as a catalyst for stress, anxiety and other mental health challenges. Employers should consider mental health as part of their safety and health management system.

Recent studies show a concerning rise in suicide rates among workers, underscoring the urgency of this issue. Recognizing this increase is the necessary first step in taking effective prevention measures. The next step is promoting mental health awareness and eliminating the stigma of seeking help for psychological distress.

To cultivate a supportive environment that champions mental well-being and reduces the risk of suicide, employers can:

  • Implement mental health programs.
  • Provide resources for workers to get help.
  • Foster a culture of openness and understanding around mental health issues.
  • Train managers and staff to recognize the signs of mental distress and potential suicidal ideation.
  • Encourage open dialogue about mental health to destigmatize these issues and help those workers struggling to seek help.

Employer-provided resources such as Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs), mental health days and access to mental health professionals can offer crucial support for workers in need. By taking these steps, workplaces can not only help prevent suicide but also enhance overall employee well-being and productivity. Raising awareness among employees and providing training on suicide prevention can empower colleagues to identify warning signs and take appropriate actions.

The importance of suicide prevention awareness in the workplace cannot be overstated. By prioritizing mental health support and prevention strategies, we can create healthier, more supportive workplaces that benefit everyone.

Find OSHA resources to help reduce workplace stress and support your workers’ mental health. You can also call or text 988, or visit 988lifeline.org.


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Original article published by OSHA

New AGC Mental Health Video to Share with All Employees

Original article published by  AGC

AGC of America released the fourth video in its series of mental health videos today for member firms to share with all employees. The video features Shayne Dinkle, a Seattle-area safety manager for iron workers, who lost a son to suicide. The pain and anger from that incident brought him close to taking his own life. But the support and compassion he received from his co-workers helped him overcome. The message from the video is clear, it is okay to share your pain, ask for help and offer it to co-workers who are suffering. The video is part of a broader AGC effort to help overcome a construction industry mental health crisis that has resulted in the industry having a suicide rate that is four-times the national average. In addition to the video, AGC has collected a host of resources for member firms and chapters to use as they address the industry’s mental health challenges. You can find those resources here.


McCraren Compliance offers training and programs to support companies in suicide awareness and prevention. Contact us for additional information to help you with this very important workplace safety.

US Department of Labor, industry leaders, stakeholders call on employers, workers to combat surge in construction worker suicides

First published by OSHA

Safety stand-downs planned for Suicide Prevention Week, Sept. 5-9

WASHINGTON – Construction workers often face some of their industry’s most serious dangers – such as falls from elevation, being struck or crushed by equipment or other objects, and electrocution – but recent studies suggest another occupational concern is lurking silently at U.S. worksites: worker suicides.

Box with text that reads 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline
The 988 Suicide &; Crisis Lifeline is a direct connection – available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – to a national network of more than 200 local crisis centers.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the suicide rate for men in construction and extraction was five times greater than the rate of all other work-related fatalities in the industry in 2018, and these workers are four times more likely to end their own lives than people in the general population.

To assist workers in an industry with one of the nation’s highest occupational suicide rates, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has joined a task force of construction industry partners, unions and educators to raise awareness of the work stresses seen as the causes of depression and the thoughts and acts of suicide among construction workers. In addition to alerting other stakeholders, the task force encourages industry employers to share and discuss available resources with their workers.

Coinciding with Construction Suicide Prevention Week, the task force is calling on construction industry employers, trade groups and other stakeholders to join OSHA’s Suicide Prevention Safety Stand-Down, Sept. 5-9, 2022. This week-long event seeks to raise awareness of unique mental health challenges construction workers face by asking employers to pause work for a moment to share information and resources and urge employees to seek help if needed.

“Construction workers cope with unique causes of stress, such as uncertain seasonal work; remote work and job travel that keeps workers away from home and support systems; long, hard days and completion schedules; and the job-related risks of serious injuries,” explained Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker. “Left unchecked, these stressors can affect mental health severely and lead to anxiety, depression, substance abuse and – in some cases – suicide.”

The coronavirus outbreak and pandemic only worsened the problem, researchers found. In August 2020, the CDC reported a considerable one-year increase in symptoms of anxiety disorder and depressive disorder in a survey of the U.S. population.

Moved by their concern for a growing problem, a group of industry volunteers joined in 2020 to launch the first Suicide Prevention Week for construction workers. In 2021, more than 68,000 workers in 43 states registered to participate in Construction Suicide Prevention Week, managed by a task force comprised of OSHA, Associated General Contractors, The Builders Association, leading construction companies and labor unions.

“Suicide can be prevented with professional help and assistance,” Parker added. “OSHA encourages employers, industry associations, labor organizations and workers to use all available resources to understand the problem and the warning signs of depression before tragedy strikes.”

The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a federally funded project designed to improve crisis services and advance suicide prevention for U.S. residents. Supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the  988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, formerly the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, the 998 lifeline is a national network of more than 200 local crisis centers, combining custom local care and resources with national standards and best practices.

Review these OSHA mental health and crisis resources.


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Suicide Prevention Month: ‘Employers can play an important role’

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Washington — September is Suicide Prevention Month, and OSHA is urging employers to actively promote available resources to all workers.

The month includes National Suicide Prevention Week (Sept. 4-10) and Construction Suicide Prevention Week (Sept. 5-9).

Suicide is a leading cause of death among working-age adults in the United States, OSHA says. Additionally, 2 out of 5 U.S. adults have a mental health issue or substance use disorder, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Work-related stress can have an impact on mental health and, without proper support, could lead to substance abuse and even suicide,” OSHA says. “Workers in the construction industry are generally at a higher risk for suicide due to work-related stress factors including seasonal/temporary employment, demanding work schedules and serious injuries, which are sometimes treated with opioids. Not addressing the underlying stressors or injuries can exacerbate mental health symptoms and may increase the risk of substance abuse or even suicide.

“By demonstrating their commitment to a safe and healthy workplace, employers can play an important role in reducing stigma and promoting mental health. In return, they may experience benefits such as improved workplace safety, higher morale, increased productivity, reduced turnover and decreased operating costs.”

The agency’s Preventing Suicides webpage has resources on developing mental health and safety programs, so workers can get the help they need. Among the goals of these programs:

  • Strive to create a workplace environment that fosters open communication and a sense of belonging.
  • Implement a workplace safety and health program that proactively identifies and addresses hazards that could lead to injuries or illnesses.
  • Provide resources and programs that promote employee health and well-being, as well as support work-life balance.
  • Inform employees of resources and treatment services available for mental health and substance use disorders through employee assistance or health insurance programs, or in the community.
  • Provide accommodations and return-to-work assistance for employees seeking treatment or who are in recovery.

 

The webpage also has links to 60-second public service announcements in English and Spanish, posters, and links to additional resources.

“When you work closely with someone, you may sense when something is wrong,” OSHA says. “If you are concerned about a co-worker, talk with them privately and listen without judgment. Encourage them to get help. If someone is in crisis, stay with them and get help. If you believe a co-worker is at immediate risk of suicide, stay with them until you can get further help. Contact emergency services or call 988 for the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.”


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Suicide in the Construction Industry: Breaking the Stigma and Silence

A suicide occurs every 12 minutes in the U.S. While these incidents touch every industry, one industry in particular has felt the impact of suicide in recent years – construction and extraction. A CDC study found that in 2012 and 2015, suicide rates were highest among males in the construction and extraction occupational group. Continue reading»