Each year on September 10 the world mourns those we’ve lost to suicide. September 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day, and September is Suicide Awareness Month. Suicidal deaths continue to rising in an increasingly stressful world, and the numbers tell a shocking story. Every 40 seconds someone takes their own life, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). That’s about 800,000 people worldwide every year — although some estimates put that number closer to 1 million. Suicide is the leading cause of death for people aged 15 to 29 and for every suicide that results in death, there are as many as 40 attempted suicides.
This number is particularly upsetting for Danella because suicide is an outright epidemic in the construction industry, with almost twice the total suicide rate for civilian working men.
We know that our teams are our most valuable asset. Most companies put great importance on keeping their teams safe on the job, but Danella urges our industry colleagues to focus on your teams’ mental wellness along with their physical safety. The silent threat to those in the construction industry is very real and needs to be addressed. This year’s theme is “Creating Hope Through Action,” and we plan to, and encourage other construction companies to do just that.
The first step in addressing the suicide epidemic in the construction industry is to combat the stigma around mental health issues. When someone feels that there is an unspoken shame surrounding mental health struggles, they are much less likely to reach out for help. In a mostly male-dominated industry, such as construction, that stigma can be amplified. According to the Construction Financial Management Association’s Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention it is the job of companies, both in construction or otherwise, to prioritize mental health and safety.
While suicide and suicidal ideation is more prevalent in the construction industry than in other industries, it is in no way exclusive to construction workers. If you are experiencing hopelessness, disturbing or suicidal thoughts, there is help available. Talk to someone right now at the National Suicide Prevention Hotline – 1-800-273-8255.
We encourage our employees and their families to reach out to Health Advocate, Danella’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provider. Health Advocate is available 24/7 to speak about mental health, medical, and financial questions. This benefit is free for all employees. Please call (866) 799-2728 for support.
Individual states also have their own crisis hotlines. For Pennsylvania’s, call 1-800-273-8255.
You can also always call 911 if you’re experiencing an emergency.
Please, take care of yourself.