A construction worker is four times more likely to die by suicide according to the Centers for Disease Control. That's one reason industry advocates are now pushing for a new program that aims to curb worker suicide and depression by identifying warning signs.
"It's the next frontier in safety," said Cal Beyer, co-founder of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention (NAASP).
Experts suggest the reason for the increased risk among construction workers, has to do with long hours, out of town jobs and off-time that fall in winter months.
Beyer reports more than 50 separate organizations nationwide are signed onto the NAASP including the Northwest's Associated General Contractors and Construction Financial Management Association.
"There's a pent-up need," he said. "The construction industry really cares about employees, and if we can give them tools and resources, we can make a difference."
Brett Enos is diagnosed with manic depression and works in the construction industry. He is working with the NAASP and helping fellow workers learn to speak up.
"It's the stigma. These are tough guys," said Enos. "I hope this opens the eyes of employers. They need that time now and not later because there might not be a later."
The suicide rate for construction workers is 53.5 per 100,000 workers or four times the rate of the general U.S. population according to the CDC. Worse yet, if you combined the Architecture and Engineering disciplines and the Architecture-Engineering-Construction Industry, the rate is a combined 85.5 per 100,000 workers of six times the general U.S. population.
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