Internationally the month of May is considered to be Mental Health Month. At Danella, we are engaged in a campaign to educate our employees, their families, and our communities further on the importance of mental health in a person’s overall well-being.
A mental health issue can be as basic as a person having difficulty dealing with a loved one’s death, a difficult diagnosis or losing a job. More than 200 classifications of mental health conditions are currently identified. Common diagnoses of mental health conditions include depression, bipolar disorder, dementia, schizophrenia, and anxiety disorders. Symptoms for each mental health condition is often specific to their diagnosis, but commonly changes in mood, personality, habits, or social withdrawal are identifiers. A full list of warning signs and symptoms can be found by visiting Mental Health America’s website.
An estimated 54 million Americans suffer, and may not be formally diagnosed, with a mental disorder in any given year. The construction industry according to a report by the CDC, ranks the construction industry the second-highest for suicide. Out of every 100,000 workers, 53 will commit suicide. Directly related to mental health conditions with many conditions not treated, the high rate of suicide in the construction industry is unacceptable.
It is important to speak with a medical professional about your mental health. However, if you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, including having suicidal thoughts, it is important to seek help immediately. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255 or 9-1-1 is always just one call away.
As a community, the first step to helping those with mental health conditions is to combat the stigma surrounding mental health. Those who believe it is shameful to struggle with their mental health are unlikely to seek the help they need. Supporting those with mental health conditions and offering an ear to understand their struggles is essential to help with recovery or to manage the condition.
Individuals with mental health conditions can seek improvement in several ways, including medication, but often physical activity and a healthy lifestyle can help prevent the onset or worsening of symptoms. Not only can becoming physically active or adjusting your diet improve mental health, they can lead to improvements in chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
Additionally, other than medication, individuals can begin to take part in some things that may help them, including:
Pets, especially, can help improve an individual’s quality of life and ability to recover from illnesses. Dogs, cats, birds, or any animal can be a source of comfort for those with mental health conditions—and may even help establish a route to recovery.
Danella believes that it is important to give our employees resources to help them manage what life throws at them, whether good or bad. If an individual is taking steps to take care of their mind, body, and soul, but still feels like they are struggling, Danella’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP), Health Advocate, is available to them, as well as their family.
The EAP is a health advocacy benefit that Danella offers to you, our employee, and their family including parents and in-laws. The EAP can help with understanding certain medical, financial, and personal circumstances, and provide extra assistance. Licensed Professional Counselors at Health Advocate can be reached at 866-799-2728.
Danella would like everyone to know that mental illnesses are real, and recovery is always the goal. Living a healthy lifestyle may not be easy but can be achieved by gradually making small changes and building on those successes. Finding the balance between work and play, the ups and downs of life, physical health and mental health, can help you on the path towards focusing both on mind and body.
It may be Mental Health Month, but remember that mental health is important every month.
For more information on mental health in the construction industry read our previous article, “Breaking the Silence and Ending Suicide in the Construction Industry.”