This Construction Suicide Prevention Week, Keches Law Group seeks to draw awareness to the many critical issues facing construction workers.
Suicide in the Construction Industry: A Crisis
According to a recent CDC report, male construction workers have an extremely high rate of suicide compared to other industries. Their suicide rate is about four times higher than the general population.
The Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention explains why males may be at a higher risk of suicide than their female coworkers, “Male-dominated industries tend to have more suicides. The macho, tough guy, and stoic nature of construction workers can even discourage those who are most at risk for suicide from seeking help. Men, especially white men in their early 20s through their 50s, account for the bulk of suicides.”
Additional explanations for the construction industry’s alarming suicide rate include:
- Many veterans work in the construction industry – According to one of the most extensive studies of veterans and mental health, “the rate of major depression among soldiers was five times as high as civilians, and the rate of PTSD was nearly 15 times higher.” Many veterans cannot access quality mental health services due to shortages within Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals and beyond. Other veterans are unwilling to seek mental health services due to the stigma associated with doing so.
- Construction workers frequently move from job site to job site – Frequent movement can cause feelings of a lack of connection to families, friends, and coworkers.
- Sleep deprivation and exhaustion – Long and irregular hours sometimes required of workers in the construction industry can lead to sleep deprivation and mental and physical fatigue.
- Physical demands of the job – Construction workers have physically demanding jobs that can take a toll on the body, leading to chronic pain. Chronic pain can, in turn, lead to self-medication (and substance abuse).
- Layoffs – Layoffs tend to occur regularly in the construction industry due to the seasonality of work. Laid-off construction workers may face loss of income and health insurance.
What Can We Do to Help Save Construction Worker Lives
As family members, friends, and coworkers, we can do a variety of things to check in on those we care about and prevent suicide in the construction industry.
OSHA recommends knowing the following five facts about suicide prevention:
- When we work closely with others, we can often sense when someone may be struggling. Everyone can help prevent suicides.
- Suicide is usually preceded by warning signs, including changes in behavior and mood.
- Speaking privately with coworkers and encouraging them to seek professional assistance can save their life if they are going through difficult times and contemplating suicide.
- If you find yourself in an immediate crisis, stay with the person at immediate risk of suicide until help arrives.
- Those seeking assistance can call or text the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988.
Have You Been Injured on the Construction Site? Keches Law Group Can Help.
Keches Law Group is one of Massachusetts’s largest and most well-respected personal injury and workers’ compensation law firms. Since opening its doors in 1986, the group has recovered more than $1 billion for its clients.