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The Hidden Cost of COVID, Isolation and Depression in the Construction Industry

September 15th, 2020 | by NEWCA

Our friends at ConstructionDive are tackling a very important, but not often discussed problem within our society that affects the construction industry as it does many others: Suicide and the best ways to prevent it.

ConstructionDive sat down for a one-on-one interview with Greg Sizemore, vice president of workforce development safety health and environmental, and chairman of the Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention.

They discussed Suicide Prevention Month (September) and how the COVID-19 situation has increased the importance of suicide awareness and prevention tactics.

A few highlights from the interview are:

• Statistically, construction employees are at a higher risk because men, who make up 91% of the construction workforce, are more likely to die by suicide. The construction industry also employs a large population of veterans who are at a 1.5 times greater risk for suicide compared to nonveterans, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

• Suicide prevention and education in any industry requires strong interpersonal skills and resources, as well as a strong leadership from management, safety professionals and human resources. Yet, the first thing we can do to alleviate the additional stress of our workforce, especially right now, is be compassionate.

• The fact that we’re even having this conversation is so important. And while a national conversation raises awareness about the risk of suicide, preventative steps and action need to happen locally on our jobsites, in our workplaces and in our communities. CIASP was founded in 2016 and born out of necessity to address a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study that ranked construction and extraction as the No. 1 occupational group for deaths by suicide.

You can read the entire interview here.

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