Talking about suicide is hard. For some of us, it's a topic that hits painfully close to home, perhaps in the form of an ongoing personal battle, knowing someone who struggles with suicidality, or having lost someone to suicide. But being able to have conversations about mental health is vitally important and has the potential to save lives. So let's talk about it.
September is National Suicide Prevention Month, and as members of an industry with a higher-than-average suicide rate, addressing this issue with our team and our wider cohort is critical. Data shows that the architecture, engineering and construction industry loses people to suicide at six times the national average. R|MILLER Inc has pledged to STAND up for suicide prevention, and we want to dedicate the beginning of this month to sharing resources, ensuring we have the proper support systems in place, and providing additional training to our team.
As an employer, we want to build protective factors into our workplace, and those include normalizing conversations around mental health and creating a culture of care, something we hope to continue to cultivate with R|MILLER Cares. The fact that we are in the midst of an unprecedented health crisis is an added stressor that can exacerbate existing mental health issues. Please be aware of yourself and your peers, and be on the lookout for the following warning signs, provided by the Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention:
Appearing sad or depressed most of the time
Increased tardiness and absenteeism
Talking about feeling trapped or wanting to die
Increased conflict among co-workers
Extreme mood swings
Increased use of alcohol or drugs
Feeling hopeless and helpless
Sleeping too much or too little
Acting anxious, agitated, or reckless
Near hits, incidents, and injuries
Withdrawing from family and friends
Talking about being a burden to others
Decreased problem-solving ability
For more information on suicide prevention and mental health, visit the suicide prevention resources page of the AGC of Washington website. This includes links to the Suicide Prevention and Resource Center website and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's page dedicated to Mental Health and COViD-19.
If you are struggling with your mental health and/or experiencing suicidal thoughts, PLEASE seek help. Talk to a team member, friend, therapist, loved one, or utilize one of the following: