Colorado Public Works Journal, Spring-Summer 2020

a Spring-Summer 2020 17 Management Strategy to Address Suicide Prevention 1. Acknowledge mental health and suicide prevention as the next frontier in safety. It is not enough to get employees home safe at the end of work shift. For “at risk” employees, it is more important to get them back to work safe from home. 2. Introduce mental health and suicide prevention into existing safety, health, and wellness programs by performing a needs as- sessment and gap analysis of current capabilities. The Construc- tion Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention has developed a needs analysis (available here: to aid companies in evaluating how they address mental health in the workplace. Each section contains questions as well as some initial action steps and areas of consideration to work on improving company readiness. 3. Develop a buddy check program that goes beyond physical safety. A formal peer support program is one of the best ways to promote a caring culture. Many military and first responder communities have discovered this type of program is often the key to building a link in the chain of survival, especially within stoic, “tough guy” cultures where men in particular are reluctant to seek professional mental health services. Click here to review best practice recommendations for peer support: https://goas- 4. Become more familiar with how your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) works. For example, what is the utilization rate and what services are offered, especially in behavioral support? 5. Research the behavioral health services available in your employee health plans. Ask: • Are crisis services available? • What is the typical waiting period on the phone when calling? • How long does it take to schedule an in-person appointment? • Are telehealth services available in the interim while waiting to schedule an in-person appointment? 6. Conduct training for managers and supervisors to help them learn: • Why suicide prevention and mental health are a workplace topic • Industry and demographic risk factors • The importance of anti-bullying and anti-harassment policies • How to recognize the warning signs of self-harm and/or suicide • How to offer and raise awareness of available support services Be on the lookout for these warning signs: Likely Risk Immediate Risk Serious Risk • Previous suicide attempts • History of depression or other mental illness • Alcohol or drug abuse • Family history of suicide or violence • Physical illness • Feeling alone • Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself. Communication may be veiled: “I just can’t take it anymore,” or “What’s the use?” • Looking for ways to kill oneself, such as searching online or obtaining a gun • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live •Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain • Talking about being a burden to others • Increased use of alcohol or drugs • Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly • Sleeping too little or too much • Withdrawing or feeling isolated • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge • Extreme mood swings If you are feeling overwhelmed, depressed, or even suicidal, you are not alone. In fact, construction workers are statistically at a higher risk for mental health issues than virtually every other profession. For urgent assistance, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline right away. ALLIES IN THE FIGHT FOR SUICIDE PREVENTION & MENTAL HEALTH PROMOTION evention #suicidepreventioncfma OriginaldesigninspiredandcreatedbytheCFMA’sVALLEYOFTHESUNCHAPTERinassociationwiththeJPGRIFFINGROUP:TrustedEmployeeBenefitAdvisors( www.constructionworkin