Job Safety and Mental Health

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Few people may stop to consider the role of mental health on safety, but during National Safety Week, May 2 through 6, McCarthy Building Companies has embraced a mental health awareness initiative that focuses on ensuring that people who work for the company get the help they need. A key component is reducing the stigma associated with mental illness that prevents people from getting help for mental health issues ranging from anxiety, depression and mood swings to substance abuse disorders.

Whether someone works in construction or not, t these issues pose significant risks to health, well-being, safety and productivity in any job, as well as at home.

While it would be timely to do a story during National Safety Week, this topic is timeless.  We would be happy to arrange an interview for you with a McCarthy safety expert, representative of the Associated General Contractors Association (AGC), and/or a mental health professional.

By way of background, a few notes related specifically to construction:

·         According to insurance broker Holmes Murphy & Associates, the construction industry is especially vulnerable to mental health challenges because of factors ranging from financial and family pressures to workplace injuries, chronic pain and substance abuse.

·         Gender issues also play a role, as data suggest that men are less likely to talk about and work to resolve mental health concerns than women are. This is particularly meaningful for the traditionally male-dominated construction field.

·         To successfully address the mental health crisis, it’s going to take a team approach. The construction industry must work together to begin shifting the attitudes, perceptions and behaviors about mental health—particularly on jobsites, where construction workers may be the most reluctant to ask for help.   

·         This effort should focus on increasing awareness and initiating conversations that promote acceptance and reduce the stigma of getting professional help. Just as people recognize the importance of taking care of their physical health by eating right, exercising and making healthy choices, they also need to understand the significance of caring for their mental health needs.

·         As a large national builder, McCarthy recognizes its role and responsibility in helping to amplify the discussions around mental health awareness, acceptance and treatment options. An internal cross-functional team of safety, human resources and operations professionals recently collaborated on an initiative to expand outreach and communicate more effectively with employees, craft workers and other stakeholders.

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