AGC announces campaign against suicide
The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) has announced a new effort to combat high suicide rates and improve mental health among the industry’s workers. The new effort, which the association launched in September as part of its support for suicide prevention month, is designed to address the high rate of suicide among construction workers.
“We cannot stand by while a silent epidemic of suicide takes place within our industry,” AGC CEO Stephen E. Sandherr says. “We want to reduce the stigma of mental health issues in this industry, let people know it is OK to ask for help and ultimately save lives.”
Sandherr says there were about 53 suicides per 100,000 workers across all industries in 2015 compared with a national construction workplace fatality rate of roughly 10 per 100,000 workers, according to the most recent federal safety data.
A construction worker is five times as likely to die by suicide than workplace safety hazards, he adds.
The association is preparing a series of videos featuring construction workers who almost succumbed to their mental health challenges. The workers in these videos will urge members of the construction industry not to be afraid to seek professional help.
In addition to the videos, which the association is releasing this fall, the AGC is launching a quarterly forum to share examples of successful mental health and suicide prevention efforts. It also will assemble a comprehensive collection of resources for construction companies and their workers about mental health and suicide prevention. Those resources will be free for all construction firms, whether or not they are AGC members.
The new effort is being coordinated by the association’s Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Task Force, which is comprised of construction professionals from across the country.
“The bottom line is [that] safety isn’t just about wearing the right protective equipment. It is about understanding you are not alone and that it is OK to ask for help,” Sandherr says.