Twice the National Average: Suicide in the Construction Industry

McKenney's construction workers

McKenney's construction workers

Men working in construction have one of the highest suicide rates compared to other industries, according to the CDC: a reported 49.4 out of 100,000, or twice the total suicide rate for civilian working men.

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and McKenney’s, along with many in our industry, places special focus on mental health issues and suicide prevention. In fact, this year, the week of September 5-9 has been designated as Construction Suicide Prevention Week, five days dedicated to raising awareness about the higher-than-average number of suicides in the construction industry and to making a commitment to provide helpful resources for employees and their families.

Workplace strategies recommended by the CDC to help prevent suicides include increasing employee access to health and behavioral health care services and promoting a protective environment for workers, including assessing and referring employees to services that can provide help.

Suicide Risk Factors

depressed construction worker at construction site

Some factors that may contribute to the risk for suicide include unemployment, job stress, financial problems, health or mental health issues, problems with relationships, and substance abuse.  The National Alliance on Mental Illness lists the following warning signs of suicide:

  •   Increased drug or alcohol use  Aggressive behavior
  •   Withdrawal from family, friends, and community
  •   Dramatic mood swings
  •   Impulsive or reckless behavior

The following are listed as suicidal behaviors:

  •   Saving pills or purchasing a weapon
  •   Giving away possessions
  •   Tying up loose ends; organizing personal papers and paying off debt
  •   Saying goodbye to family and friends

Nationwide Helpline

construction worker calling Nationwide Helpline

Understandably, suicide is often an uncomfortable subject for most peoplet.  For too long there has been a stigma attached to suicide that discourages (or sometimes prevents) people from seeking help early.  The National Alliance for Mental Illness now has a nationwide number to contact for those that need support during a mental health crisis.

Call or text 988 for the Suicide Crisis Lifeline.  It’s available 24/7, no matter where you live. Regardless of who employs you, regardless of which industry you’re a part of, don’t neglect these often unseen issues.

McKenney’s invests in employee health.

McKenney’s is committed to a safe and healthy work environment.  McKenney’s understands the need for a healthy work-life balance and wants all employees to have the peace of mind necessary to care for themselves and their families.

At McKenney’s, we recognize that  mental health is a top priority and we treat it as such in our workplace health initiatives.  Because of this  proactive approach to employee health, McKenney’s has been honored several times over the past two decades as being one of the “Healthiest Employers” by The Atlanta Business Chronicle and The Charlotte Business Journal, as well as being named a 2021 “Best Places to Work”.

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