May is Mental Health Awareness Month | Shepley Wood Products
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May is Mental Health Awareness Month

When considering jobsite hazards, physical risks like falls and unmarked restricted zones are usually top of mind. However, it's crucial to also address the less visible dangers such as anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts, which can pose significant threats to worker safety. Mental health issues are on the rise in the construction industry, with a 2020 study revealing that 83% of construction workers have experienced such problems. The impact of events like the financial crisis and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic underscores the heightened risk of mental health challenges, potentially leading to increased suicide rates among construction workers.

Every person on your jobsite, whether it's the cheerful Bill or the generous donut-bringer Gina, may be grappling with mental health issues, including yourself. From laborers to executives, these challenges affect individuals across the board. Despite improvements in physical safety regulations, mental healthcare support still lags behind and needs to be elevated to the same level of importance as wearing personal protective equipment. It is imperative for the construction industry to enhance mental health outreach and assistance, starting at the individual jobsite level. While mental health awareness should be a year-round priority, the national Mental Health Awareness Month in May serves as a timely opportunity to educate oneself and initiate positive changes towards better mental health support in the workplace.

Construction workers can be vulnerable due to various factors, such as:

  • ·Working in isolating roles
  • ·Dependence on the economy for employment
  • ·Spending extended periods away from loved ones
  • ·Dealing with chronic pain from manual labor
  • ·Facing stress from time constraints, work conditions, and poor sleep
  • ·Resorting to alcohol and mood-altering substances to cope
  • ·Encountering stigma around mental health, leading to secrecy and isolation
  • ·It's essential to address these challenges and be mindful of the signs and symptoms.

By identifying them early, you can seek appropriate support to ensure everyone returns safely to their families and friends each day.

You don’t have to be a mental health worker to help someone who is struggling.


Talking about self-harm

• Self criticism, self hatred

• Withdrawing from others

• Self-destructive behavior

• No hope for the future

• Decreased productivity

• Talking about being a burden

• Extreme mood swings

• Increased tardiness

• Absenteeism


• Don’t ignore it – Speak up if you’re worried

• Show your concern; that you’ve noticed they are acting differently and inquire why they don’t seem like themselves.

• Respond quickly if you believe your friend

If a coworker, friend or family member talks about hurting themselves or wanting to die, take the information seriously. Reach out. Ask if they the would like to talk. Listen. Suggest the 1-800-273 TALK (8255) or the TEXT HELLO to 741741 if they need someone to talk to. Follow up.

Source: National Association of Home Builders
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