Saskatchewan – High suicide rates and mental health issues are growing concerns that affect workplace safety in the construction industry. The Saskatchewan Construction Safety Association (SCSA) and the provincial network of construction associations are coming together for a lunch event on Wednesday, November 2 in Prince Albert to talk about mental health and encourage all members of the construction community to add their voices to the conversation.
Mental health advocate Allan Kehler will deliver a keynote presentation based on his journey and the struggles of other Saskatchewan men featured in his bestselling book MENtal Health: It’s Time to Talk. Kehler acknowledges that in construction, where the onsite workforce is predominantly male, there is “a culture of toughness or strength, but the biggest thing for people to understand is that vulnerability equals strength. There’s nothing manly about suffering in silence.”
The construction industry historically has a reputation for demanding that men need to be tough, and this needs to be challenged, according to Shannon Friesen, CEO of the Saskatoon Construction Association. “The time is now to break through stigmas related to mental health and ensure we are all doing our part to create safe and supportive workplaces where all can thrive. People should not have to suffer in silence, chances are that if you are struggling with something, others are too.”
The nature of working in construction can impact psychological health – long hours, physical exhaustion, seasonal jobs, working away from home, and an environment where feelings or stresses are kept inside. According to WorkSafe Saskatchewan, the industry has one of the highest rates of suicide and many do not reach out for help when experiencing mental distress. Male construction workers also have more mental health concerns than men in the general population.
“Mental health concerns are hidden hazards that we need to pay attention to as much as the physical, visible hazards seen every day on jobsites,” says Collin Pullar, SCSA president. He encourages members of the construction community to recognize that ensuring health and safety in the workplace includes mental wellness.
MENtal Health: It’s Time to Talk takes place on Wed. Nov. 2 from 12 to 3 p.m.
Prince Albert Golf and Curling Club (900 22 Street East Prince Albert, SK S6V 1P1)
Tickets for SCSA members are $25, $50 for non-members, lunch included. Everyone welcome.
Tickets to receive a post-event recording also available.
- 30 -
For more information:
306-652-0907 ext. 558