- Niki Knox
Bringing Awareness to an Uncomfortable Topic
Last week, the Hardknox team attended the CONEX/CONAGG expo in Las Vegas. Caitlin and I attended several of the education courses each day. We learned a lot of beneficial and great information to help in the growth of Hardknox. But let's get real for a few moments because I am about to make some of you uncomfortable.
One common topic that happened to come up in almost every course I attended was suicide in the construction industry. That immediately struck a nerve for me because, in 2021, I lost my sister to suicide. I knew this was a crisis, but I did not realize how much of an epidemic this was within the construction industry, and was shocked.
Did you know that suicide in the construction industry is 40% higher than in any other industry? Did you know it's 65% higher for males in the industry? I didn't either until last week; now we need to talk about it.
We have all been conditioned to think that the men/women in this industry are "tough as nails," "hard-working," and "unstoppable," right? These men/women are usually the "breadwinners" in the family and are responsible for ensuring their homes are stable, and their families have a warm meal every day. They work long hours to meet deadlines and show dedication to the trade. This results in constant stress. They are uncertain if this will be the last project for a year or two. The worry is whether you will be a part of the next round of layoffs.
Guess what that constant build-up of stress does to an individual? Living up to those standards can weigh a person down tremendously. And without the proper knowledge and support, more and more individuals are turning to suicide.
A study completed in 2018 determined that the ratio of job site fatalities was a fraction of the number of construction workers dying by suicide. Imagine, after the COVID shenanigans, what are those numbers now?
What can we do in this industry to turn those statistics around?
Educate your workers. Show your employees that you care for their mental health and not just their physical health. Provide resources (there are a lot of free resources out there), showing them this is not something to hide from and there is help available. I will include some links to help spread awareness and educate your teams. Let them know that it's ok to ask the hard questions, when we know someone is struggling. It starts with us as individuals.
We must work together to bring awareness and help facilitate change within the industry and let our peoples know that THEY MATTER.
CIASP - Home Page (preventconstructionsuicide.com)
CIASP - Stand Up for Suicide Prevention (preventconstructionsuicide.com)
Suicide Prevention Training Centre | LivingWorks
Let's be better for each other.
Live a life of Kindness and Compassion.