Industry Insights • 55 minutes

Become That Voice for Others: Normalizing Mental Health in the Construction Industry

May 7, 2024

Episode Overview

There are a troubling 5,000 deaths by suicide each year in the United States construction industry.

Workplace challenges include doing a job that’s physically demanding and therefore brings a high probability of injury. Plus, there are the long hours and travel requirements.

Conditions certainly have gotten better when it comes to deaths on the job caused by unsafe working environments. Unfortunately, experts say, more needs to be done to address mental health in the construction ranks.

Jennifer Massey is the safety, health and environmental administrator for the United Association. The group represents approximately 375,000 home services industry workers in the United States and Canada.

“People should be able to go home in the same condition they came to work,” she says. “They should not be adversely affected while trying to have a livelihood to provide for their families and themselves.”

Both Massey and Raffi Elchemmas, executive director for safety, health and risk management at the Mechanical Contractors Association of America, are concerned about mental health issues that led to those 5,000 suicides last year.

Elchemmas says workers deserve better than the status quo.

“We wrote the playbook with physical safety, how to prevent falls, how to keep people safe and PPE,” he says. “We can do it again in mental health, and that's what we plan to do.”

It’s achievable, Elchemmas says.

“Compassion, empathy–those are the things we're trying to do,” he says. “We're trying to break the stigma, ask the question that you would feel comfortable asking your sibling, asking your best friend, but on a job site.”

Jennifer Massey and Raffi Elchemmas recently joined ServiceTitan’s Jackie Aubel on the “Toolbox for the Trades” podcast, which included their thoughts on:

  • [10:54]: The importance of mental health in the construction industry

  • [16:42]: Clearly defining mental health issues and terms

  • [35:01]: Warning signs that someone may be having mental health challenges

  • [37:30]: Dealing with working in a toxic environment

  • [49:01]: Available resources and support for those struggling with mental health

To hear more stories from the trades, subscribe to Toolbox for the Trades on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google, or anywhere you get podcasts.

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About the Show

Toolbox for the Trades is a podcast where top service professionals share the tips, tricks, and tactics they use to succeed in their industry. Hosted by Jackie Aubel, this podcast is brought to you by ServiceTitan—the leading home and commercial field service software.

Episodes will feature stories and strategies to help contractors grow and scale their service business.

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