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. Suicide is preventable.
You're Not Alone - A Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Blog for the Construction Industry by Bob Swanson
September is suicide prevention month, and it is also the beginning of my new monthly blog regarding mental health issues and suicide prevention. I am Bob Swanson, a retired commercial and industrial painting contractor from Minneapolis. I am also a loss survivor who lost our oldest son to suicide on March 13, 2009 at the age of 33.
Besides my personal loss, why is this an important topic? First of all, suicide has impacted most of us. Secondly, more than 43,000 Americans will die by suicide this year, and the incidence of suicide in the construction industry is four times greater than the general population. In future blogs, I will be talking about many topics including the prevalence of mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety in our society, the shame of mental illnesses, the impact of negative terminology regarding mental illness, the impact of mental illness in the workplace and warning signs of suicide.
Did you know that up to 25 percent of adults will experience a mental illness this year? In a recent webinar sponsored by Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA), 15 percent of the attendees indicated that they live with a mental illness, or they have experienced suicidal thoughts. In the same survey, 53 percent of the attendees indicated they have a family member living with a mental illness or a family member who has had suicidal thoughts. Because of the shame of mental illness, most people who live with a mental illness do not receive the care that they need.
Knowledge regarding any problem is power. Please know that all mental illnesses are treatable, and suicide is preventable. Today is the time to accept nothing less than zero suicides in the construction industry.