Construction Industry Grapples with Suicide Epidemic

November 10, 2016

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News


The construction industry has the second highest suicide rate of any occupational group in the U.S., according to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In response to these findings, the Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA) has established the Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention, which aims to promote awareness of mental health and suicide prevention within the industry. CFMA President and CEO Stuart Binstock said that there are many factors that place construction workers at increased risk for suicide, including substance abuse, injury and chronic pain, difficult working conditions, lack of access to mental health services, and a “tough guy” culture that discourages help-seeking. Binstock recommended that construction firms take the following steps to adopt a multi-pronged approach to suicide prevention and mental health promotion: 1) evaluate the company’s ability to respond to mental health crises, 2) engage leadership, 3) establish a Zero Suicide initiative, 4) educate and spread awareness among employees, 5) train supervisors to identify and assist those at risk, and 6) improve accessibility of mental health care. CFMA is collaborating with companies and organizations to advance Zero Suicide across the industry. Said Binstock, “The best way to spread this work is peer to peer, leader to leader. By creating a community that is educated about the risks and signs of suicide prevention, we can all learn from each other and share best practices.” 

Spark Extra! To learn more about the Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention, visit its website.