Updated: Sep 16
It is estimated that 1.4 million Canadians lace up their work boots and call the construction industry home when it comes to work. It is no secret that the construction industry produces some amazing products from state of the art homes to underground infrastructure that would blow your mind. All of this comes at the cost of high stress, high hazard, high emotions. The current suicide rate for the construction industry still sits at 53.2 per 100,000 at 1.4 million that’s 62 suicides a month nationally. We need to start prioritizing mental health in construction and on the jobsite. Here are five tips that can help make that happen.
1. Promote a Healthy Work Culture:
One of the most effective ways to prioritize mental health in construction is by creating a positive work culture. This means fostering an environment where workers feel valued, supported, and encouraged. Employers can achieve this by establishing open lines of communication with their employees, promoting work-life balance, and providing resources for mental health support.
Encouraging positive communication channels between workers can help reduce workplace stress and tension. It can also help create a more collaborative work environment where workers can share their thoughts and ideas. Additionally, providing access to mental health resources, such as employee assistance programs, can help workers deal with stress and mental health concerns.
2. Address Workplace Stressors:
Construction workers face many stressors in their jobs, such as long work hours, tight deadlines, and physically demanding work. Addressing these stressors can help prevent them from taking a toll on workers' mental health. Employers can do this by providing adequate breaks, setting realistic deadlines, and implementing safety protocols.
Creating a safe work environment can help alleviate some of the stress that workers face on the job. This includes providing proper safety gear and equipment, as well as ensuring that workers receive proper training on how to use them. Additionally, offering flexible work arrangements can help workers manage their workload and reduce stress.
3. Nurturing Mentally Healthy Construction Habits:
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can have a positive impact on mental health. Encouraging healthy habits such as regular exercise, a balanced diet, and adequate sleep can help workers reduce stress and improve their overall well-being. Employers can promote healthy habits by providing access to wellness programs and resources, such as gym memberships or healthy food options in the workplace.
Encouraging workers to take breaks and move around during the workday can also have a positive impact on their mental health. This can include taking a short walk or doing stretches to reduce physical tension and improve focus.
4. Provide Mental Health Support:
Construction workers may experience mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to the high-stress nature of their job. Employers can help workers manage these issues by providing access to mental health support.
This can include offering employee assistance programs (EAPs), providing access to mental health professionals, or offering peer support programs. Employers can also provide training for managers to identify and support workers who may be struggling with mental health issues.
5. Reduce Stigma:
Stigma surrounding mental health issues can make it difficult for workers to seek mental health help when they need it. Reducing stigma in the workplace can help create an environment where workers feel comfortable seeking support for mental health concerns.
Employers can reduce stigma by providing mental health education and resources, promoting an open and accepting workplace culture, and encouraging workers to seek support when they need it. This can include offering mental health first aid training for managers and employees, providing resources for mental health support, and promoting positive messaging around mental health.
Prioritizing mental health in construction is essential for maintaining the well-being and productivity of workers. Employers can do this by promoting a positive work culture, addressing workplace stressors, encouraging healthy habits, providing mental health support, and reducing stigma around mental health. By implementing these strategies, construction workers can feel supported and empowered to prioritize their mental health.
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