Building A Better Future for our Families

Mental Health and Suicide Prevention

Suicide and mental health are issues that are too often overlooked in our society. The construction industry, in particular, has the highest rate of suicide per industry. Mental illnesses are diseases affecting the brain that can be monitored and treated. According to many medical and psychological associations, including the American Psychological Association, suicide is preventable. 


You're Not Alone - A Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Blog for the Construction Industry by Bob Swanson

August 2018 - What to do After a Mental Crisis is Averted
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Last month I discussed how to respond to someone having a mental crisis; let’s discuss this matter a little further. How should you respond to a fellow employee once the crisis has been addressed? The same way you would if he or she had passed out and medical personnel were required. In both instances, the employee’s care and well being is the primary concern along with their personal privacy.

It is critical that the employee is treated in the same manner as if they had a physical incident. This might include things such as financial and non-financial support until the employee can return to work; and flexibility in work schedule or light duty upon the employee’s return to work. Remember that with physical ailments, the issue is visible; this is not the case with mental ailments.

You may have heard the saying that we may forget what someone says or does, but we will never forget how someone makes us feel. I have a prime example of that regarding a workplace injury I incurred in the early 1970’s. At the time, I was teaching painting and decorating at a vocational school when I had lacquer splashed in my left eye. I couldn’t see clearly out of my left eye for a few days. When I returned to work, the school Superintendent took the time to visit with me and find out how I was doing. While I don’t remember what exactly he said, I will never forget how he made me feel. To the Superintendent, I was more than just an employee. He genuinely cared about my well-being.

In today’s high tech world, it is easy to forget that we all yearn for that personal contact. This is especially true after a mental health incident. As with any safety and health incident, there shouldn’t be any judgement. The priority is to restore the employee to full health and well being.

Author’s Note/Request
It is hard to believe, but this is the 12th blog since this venture began last September. Now I have some questions for you. What have you found most helpful so far? What other mental health topics would you like discussed? How have you used this information, and how can this blog be more beneficial for you? Your input and comments are welcome and will be helpful in writing future blogs, and they can be sent to

Learn more about this important topic from Bob's podcast on mental health awareness and suicide prevention in the construction industry.

Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Resources

You're Not Alone - A mental health and suicide prevention blog for the construction industry

National Suicide Prevention Hotline

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