Video: What Can Be Done About Construction’s Alarming Suicide Rate?

Updated Jul 7, 2022

The suicide rate for men in construction is the highest of any industry and is four times higher than the national average. Yet it’s rarely discussed on jobsites or by employers and employees.

On this episode of The Dirt, we hear from Michelle Walker, vice president of operations for SSC Underground construction company in Phoenix, Arizona. Along with being in the construction industry her entire life, Walker serves on the nonprofit Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention. The organization was established in 2016 by the Construction Financial Management Association to “shatter the stigma surrounding mental health issues.” Its goal is to create a “zero suicide industry.”

But as host Bryan Furnace notes he has never heard suicide prevention discussed on the job. The industry will spend hours, as it should, on various safety topics. Yet suicide kills five times more construction workers than any of the top fatal four causes of death in the industry combined – falls, struck-by, caught-in/between, and electrocution.

Walker became involved in suicide prevention over six years ago when she learned of how many workers were silently dying. She frequently visits other construction companies to discuss the problem and let employers and employees know where and how to get help, as well as start the dialogue on how the industry can prevent workers from dying by suicide.

To find out how you can help reduce the suicide rate in the construction industry or where to go for someone who needs help, check out this week’s episode of The Dirt.

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