Construction Safety Week: Mental health awareness
Mental health and wellness may be one of the biggest safety issues at work today. When people who are struggling with depression, anxiety, drug or alcohol use, and personality disorders show up to work, they are likely to be distracted and fatigued and may have severely impaired judgment and perception.
This could obviously result in incidents or injuries to themselves or someone else, or – at its worst case – self-inflicted injury or even death.
You are encouraged to take care of yourselves, take care of each other, and know who to go to for help. We are all in this together, and together we can eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health and asking for help.
Learn to recognize the Warning Signs of Mental Health Issues
Talking about guilt or shame, feeling trapped, being a burden to others, or self-harm.
- Empty, hopeless, trapped, or having no reason to live
- Extremely sad, anxious, agitated, or angry
- Unbearable emotional or physical pain
- Withdrawing from friends, family, or activities
- Agitation or rage ‒ increased mood swings or conflict among co-workers
- Changes in personality or neglecting appearance
- Taking dangerous risks, such as increased alcohol or drug use or driving recklessly
- Increased tardiness and absenteeism from work
- Planning or researching ways to die, purchasing a gun
Reach Out – If someone you know is exhibiting warning signs, don’t ignore them.
The best way to find out if a person is having thoughts about harming themselves is to ask directly.
- Be There – let them know that you care and that you are there for them.
- Listen without judgement and express concern and support.
- Reassure them that help is available.
- Encourage the person to see a mental health professional or help them locate a treatment facility.
- Follow up – check in, see how they are doing, be available to listen, and give support.
- Notify a supervisor and/or Human Resources when you are concerned about an employee.
For more information, there are numerous resources available.
If you or someone you know needs immediate help, contact:
- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255), dial 988 (call, chat or text), or use the online Lifeline Chat at https://bit.ly/2WG0bnl
- Crisis Text Line: Text “HOME” to 741741 for free, 24/7 confidential support
- Veterans Crisis Line: Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or visit veterancrisisline.net
- NAMI Help Line: Call 1-800-950-6264 or Text “NAMI” to 741741 for free, 24/7 confidential support
- Crisis Service Canada: 1-833-456-4566
More HSE Content
- Engage to create a safety culture
- Risk identification
- Identifying and removing hazards is key to safety