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Mental Health Awareness Vital for Workplace Safety in Construction

Yorkton, SK – When it comes to workplace safety, physical health and eliminating visible hazards immediately come to mind. But mental health and substance use issues are growing concerns that affect those working in construction. The Saskatchewan Construction Safety Association (SCSA) is holding an event in Yorkton on Thursday, March 30 to raise awareness for how mental wellness factors into worksite safety. 
The lunch event at the Gallagher Centre will feature guest speaker Brad Siroski to highlight the importance of opening up conversations around mental health. Siroski is a mental health and substance use educator who has a personal story of coping with mental health and addiction issues. Siroski’s life was forever changed by a boss who had an open mind and an open-door policy to support him in recovery. Through his experience, employers and employees will learn how to approach these issues, recognize when someone is struggling and reach out for help or support others. 
Stigma often works against those who need help and support. Siroski, who also overcame a battle with cancer, shares that “when I was struggling with mental health and addictions problems, people walked across the street to get away from me. When I was diagnosed with cancer, some of those same people showed up on my doorstep with gift baskets.” He acknowledges that “maintaining positive mental health, like recovery, is a lifelong process.” 
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 aren’t discussed or men are expected to be “tough”. 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 job sites,” says Collin Pullar, SCSA president. He encourages members of the construction community to foster open communication around mental wellness in the workplace and ensure that people have access to resources. 
The SCSA’s lunch event with guest speaker Brad Siroski takes place at the Gallagher Centre in Yorkton (455 Broadway St W) on Thursday, March 30 from 12 to 2 p.m. There is no cost to attend, but tickets should be reserved online in advance. SCSA members are also invited to attend the Annual General Meeting before the lunch and speaker, beginning at 11 a.m.