After a two-year decline, the number of Americans who committed suicide rose to 47,646 in 2021, the latest year for which data was available. On-site construction workers are the second-highest at-risk occupational group for suicide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In response to this concerning data, AEC firms and industry groups are stepping up their suicide prevention measures.
In late October 2022, the general contractor Balfour Beatty launched an innovative online tool for its employees and industry partners that provides streamlined access to potentially lifesaving mental health resources.
The company’s suicide prevention website, which is being displayed via QR code on jobsite signage across the U.S., offers easy access—in English and Spanish—to the newly rebranded 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline, the National Domestic Violence Hotline, and industry resources from the Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention (CIASP).
The site was also designed to address the unique needs of individuals who may be experiencing a mental health crisis. Its supportive elements are mobile- and desktop-friendly, are easy to navigate with minimal actions needed to access resources, and are presented in a warm color palette that is meant to positively regulate a worker’s mental health response.
Balfour Beatty was unable at press time to provide how many visits its website had received since its launch.
Eric Yates, the firm’s Environmental Health and Safety Manager in the Carolinas, said the hotlines were getting the most attention, via the website, from Balfour Beatty’s field teams and trade partners.