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Construction Industry Must Address Mental Health, Suicide Prevention

September is National Suicide Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness of suicide prevention and, for us at EDA Contractors, to honor loved ones we have lost including EDA Family member Kenny Erdman.

This month gives us an opportunity to reflect on the importance of mental and emotional health in preventing suicide, and raise awareness of suicide prevention through our participation in the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Out of the Darkness Walk.

Suicide rates in the construction industry are disparately higher than the general population. Nationally, 17.3 people out of every 100,000 workers commit suicide compared to 53.2 people out of every 100,000 in construction.

Several factors could contribute to this spike, including age and gender. Men are more likely to commit suicide than women, and suicide was the second leading cause of death among individuals age 10-34, and the fourth leading cause of death among individuals age 35-44, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Additionally, 89 percent of construction sites are comprised of men, who historically seek less treatment for mental health, deal with high levels of stress, and struggle with drug and alcohol abuse.

Construction companies should consider mental health, substance abuse and suicide prevention a top priority to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their workers. We have a commitment to our workers to destigmatize mental health issues, to provide programs to support those struggling with mental health and substance abuse, and to connect individuals with suicide prevention resources.

EDA Contractors has taken an active role in supporting our workers. We have placed an emphasis on the importance of emotional intelligence to increase self-awareness and self-management.

We promote a culture that allows for open dialogue, creating a safe space where our EDA Family feel safe and respected enough to come forward and seek help.

We offer EDA’s PACT program which helps employees struggling with drug and alcohol addiction, providing a safe, caring, judgment free resource for EDA employees seeking relief from substance abuse.

We support our employees in their journey and provide resources to help them with their struggles, so we can prevent losing loved ones to suicide.

In honor of EDA’s Kenny Erdman whom we lost in 2018, we created Kenny’s Crusaders, a group that commemorates his jovial spirit and supports efforts like those of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention that address suicide and mental health issues.

Learn more about how to support local efforts, develop workplace programs or a corporate sponsorship here.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts or feelings, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, available 24/7 across the United States. You are not alone.

Successful Together.