Promoting suicide prevention on Workers’ Memorial Day
Insulators International Staff — Tue, May 4, 2021 @ 15:05 PM
Construction workers face plenty of hazards on the job, but they can also struggle when they leave the jobsite. On Workers’ Memorial Day, the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers and our affiliates are working to promote safety and wellbeing in all forms.
Recently, Mechanical Insulators Labor Management and Cooperative Trust Executive Director Pete Ielmini joined America’s Work Force Union Podcast to promote mental health wellbeing and suicide prevention.
Brother Ielmini began by honoring workers who have lost their lives to workplace injuries and those struggling with the stresses of work.
Years ago, the construction industry was plagued by the macho man stereotype, which Brother Ielmini said is now subsiding. This stereotype caused tradesmen and tradeswomen to bury their issues and not discuss them with their peers.
The end result of this issue, paired with economic uncertainty and other outside problems has caused suicide rates amongst tradesmen and tradeswomen to drastically increase in the past two decades.
While some believe the COVID-19 pandemic played a role in an increased suicide rate this past year, Brother Ielmini said the rate is just following trend. The available information shows the increased abuse of prescription medication and illicit opioids has played a much larger role.
Ielmini said contractors associated with the Insulators Union are doing a good job of embracing the importance of mental health and are beginning to incorporate it into safety discussions at the start of the week or day.
The effort is welcome, as resources are available to those who are struggling. Brother Ielmini said that half of those struggling with their mental health reach out for help, and of that figure, approximately 80 percent of people received the help they need.
Brother Ielmini concluded by insisting that tradesmen and tradeswomen take the time to talk to one another during National Safety Stand-Down Week about mental health, hopefully turning it into a future habit.
If you want to listen to Executive Director Ielmini’s discuss mental health and suicide prevention AWF Union Podcast appearance, you can listen below: