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Suffering in Silence: Mental Health in the Construction Industry Part 1

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Despite suicide being a global health epidemic, you may never know who around you is suffering from suicidal ideation until it’s too late. This is especially true in the construction industry, where work-related stress, depression, and anxiety have become some of the most commonly reported health issues. Unfortunately, there are many aspects of the construction industry that lend itself to being prone to cases of depression and suicide.

In this two-part article, a Portland construction attorney at Cotney Construction Law will discuss how the construction industry is plagued with mental health issues and how best to help those afflicted by this silent killer. If you are among those struggling with suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for help and support.

Why the Construction Industry?

The suicide rate of construction workers is 1.7 times that of male workers in other industries. Depression and mental distress are also more prevalent in this industry as opposed to others. Unfortunately, there are certain aspects of the construction industry that foster an environment that is conducive to mental anguish. They are as follows:

  • A “tough guy” culture
  • A high rate of drug use
  • A high risk of injury
  • Long hours
  • Exhausting work
  • A competitive, cutthroat work environment
  • Tenuous positions and careers

A House of Cards  

The above negative aspects mean that a construction worker suffering from anxiety or depression will most likely self-medicate, fear for their job, not be able to focus, and not seek help when they need it the most. This worker will show up to work day after day with this weight on their shoulders and will continue to be an ever-increasing risk to themselves and those around them. They may be trying to handle their pain while operating a crane, holding a heavy tool above coworkers, or working with hazardous equipment. This is a house of cards that is waiting to fall. If such a worker is ever injured on your worksite, please consult with a Portland construction lawyer as soon as you can.

Safety Measures Must Include Mental Health

Safety must be a priority on every jobsite. Just like hard hats and gloves, the right tools must be provided to construction workers to meet their mental health needs. This means breaking down the barriers that keep construction workers from seeking help. Because these workers are silent, the help and resources that are available to them must not be.

For information on how to address mental health issues in construction, please join us for part two.

If you would like to speak with a Portland construction attorney, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.