September is Suicide Prevention Month: How Can You Help?

An uncompromised focus on keeping people safe – Faith Technologies stands by that core value every day. But not only do we need to keep our employees safe while working on the job, it’s important to keep them safe from themselves. According to an analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, males working in construction have the highest suicide rates in the country.

There are several signs to pay attention to on the jobsite when it comes to suicide prevention. Increased tardiness and absenteeism, decreased productivity and self-confidence, isolation from coworkers, and agitation and increased conflict with coworkers are just a few to watch for.

If you or someone you know is at risk for suicide, it’s important to ask for help. Many people, especially men, tend to feel like they should be tough or strong and keep things to themselves. But asking for help or looking for resources isn’t a sign of weakness. Asking for help shows that you’re strong enough to say that something needs to change, and you need help making those changes.

There are many different resources available for suicide and mental health concerns, such as:

  • 24 Hour National Suicide Prevention Lifeline & Veterans Crisis Line: (800) 273-TALK
  • Center for Suicide Awareness: Text the word “CONNECT” to 741741
  • Man Therapy: www.mantherapy.org/ is an interactive site that provides resources for working-age men that employs humor to cut through stigma and tackle issues like depression, divorce and anxiety.
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness: www.nami.org/ provides numerous guides for mental health, as well as resources for treatment and support.
  • Mental Health America: www.mentalhealthamerica.net/ offers free, confidential mental health screenings, as well as tools and resources.
  • Right Direction: www.rightdirectionforme.com/ is intended to be a starting point on your path to feeling better. It offers information about depression in the workplace, a depression screening tool and information on where to go for help.
  • Addictions LLC: www.addictions.com is a resource to help individuals and families facing substance use disorders find the treatment they need. September is also National Alcohol & Drug Addiction Recovery Month.

At Faith Technologies, we also have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that offers free, confidential services to our full-time employees and their families 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Many employers offer similar employee assistance services; your human resources department would be a good resource for more information.

Here at Faith, we strive to keep this information readily available to our employees through continuous communication. Large magnets were sent to employees at all jobsites that include mental health resources that can attach to jobsite operational risk management (ORM) boards and/or gangboxes. Large posters with this information were also hung in job trailers and all Faith offices. Additionally, weekly supervisor communication was a focus during the month of May during Mental Health Awareness Month that centered around risk factors and symptoms of depression or mental illness, actions they can take as a supervisor and confidant, as well as focusing on the various resources available to individuals to get the help they need.

So what can you, as an employee/supervisor/safety professional/friend do to help prevent suicide? The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline sums it up best with their #BeThe1To movement, which focuses on five action steps for communicating with someone who may be suicidal:

  1. Ask
  2. Keep Them Safe
  3. Be There
  4. Help Them Connect
  5. Follow Up

Start a conversation! Simply talk to those around you. The more we talk about mental health and incorporate it into our culture, the more we can reduce the stigma that surrounds mental health. Encourage conversations, raise awareness about resources and show your support for one another. Show kindness and compassion to one another. Just like Faith’s approach to safety, look out for one another. If you notice sudden or gradual changes in someone’s behavior, pull them aside and help them find the resources to get better. We can all take action to have open dialogue and make an impact in someone’s life.