Every year, on September 10, the world comes together to remember those lost to suicide, marking World Suicide Prevention Day. September is officially designated as Suicide Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness about this critical issue. As September winds down, it is equally crucial to recognize that suicide awareness should not be confined to a single month. The alarming suicide rates within the construction industry emphasize the need for a year-round commitment to mental wellness.
The statistics are startling. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), someone takes their own life every 40 seconds, resulting in nearly 800,000 suicides worldwide annually, with some estimates suggesting an even higher figure, nearing one million. Among individuals aged 15 to 29, suicide ranks as the leading cause of death, and for every suicide resulting in death, there may be as many as 40 attempted suicides.
In the construction industry, these numbers paint a distressing picture. Suicide has become an epidemic within this sector, with a suicide rate nearly double that of civilian working men. This stark reality prompts the question: What more can be done to address this issue beyond the confines of a single awareness month?
Danella Cares: A Commitment to Mental Wellness
Danella recognizes that its workforce is its most valuable asset. While ensuring physical safety on the job remains a priority, the company also emphasizes the critical importance of nurturing employees’ mental well-being. The silent threat posed to those in the construction industry is a harsh reality that demands attention. This year’s theme, “Creating Hope Through Action,” serves as a call to action, not just for Danella but for all construction companies.
Breaking the Stigma
Combatting the stigma surrounding mental health issues is the initial step in addressing the suicide epidemic within the construction industry. In a predominantly male-dominated field like construction, this stigma can be particularly pronounced. The Construction Financial Management Association’s Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention emphasizes that companies, both within and outside the construction sector, must prioritize mental health and safety.
Help Is Within Reach
Although suicide and suicidal ideation are more prevalent in construction, they are not exclusive to this industry. If you or someone you know is experiencing feelings of hopelessness or thoughts of suicide, help is available. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline, reachable at 1-800-273-8255, provides immediate assistance.
At Danella, we urge our employees and their families to utilize Health Advocate, our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provider. Health Advocate offers support for mental health, medical, and financial concerns and is available 24/7. This valuable benefit is offered free of charge to all employees. Please call (866) 799-2728 for support.
Additionally, individual states have their crisis hotlines. For Pennsylvania residents, the crisis hotline is 1-800-273-8255. In cases of emergencies, do not hesitate to call 911.
A Year-Round Commitment to Mental Wellness
While September shines a spotlight on suicide awareness, we must acknowledge that this issue requires our attention throughout the year. The construction industry’s high suicide rates are a stark reminder that the battle against suicide is not confined to a single month. Let us pledge to prioritize mental wellness in our workplaces every day, creating a safer and more supportive environment for all. Please, take care of yourself and those around you.