September is National Suicide Awareness and Prevention month. As an employer of skilled trades professionals, one of the professions with a high rate of suicide, RK takes precautions to support and listen to our valued employees. To ensure our employees have a safe space, we have implemented certain initiatives.
Open Communication Culture
Often we find the male-dominated construction industry often has the false perception that individuals in the skilled trades must always appear “tough.” RK promotes a culture of open communication, and we encourage employees to express their opinions and emotions in productive, healthy ways. Employees can speak freely with managers and supervisors when they feel wronged or if something is troubling them. Managers and supervisors are also required to promote a healthy open door policy with their team so that all employees feel valued and heard.
Mental Wellness Toolbox Talks
Toolbox Talks are a staple of our weekly communications here at RK, and although personal safety is a top priority, we also hold specific toolbox talks to emphasize the importance of mental wellness. In these talks we not only address the high amount of addiction, depression, and suicides that plague the construction industry but also promote healthy coping skills to help employees navigate their way through their feelings. Employees are provided resources at these talks so that they can reach out for help if needed.
Suicide Prevention Training
All managers, supervisors and our wellness team have received suicide prevention training. These classes supply our upper management teams with the skills to effectively identify associates who may be struggling with suicidal thoughts or more severe mental health issues. RK understands that identifying suicidal warning signs early enough may prevent someone from taking their own life.
RK has onsite wellness coaches that are available in our corporate locations and jobsites to check on and monitor the health and wellness of all employees. Coaches are trained to watch for associates who may be struggling personally or professionally to direct them to a licensed professional if needed. Our wellness staff also provides employees with alternative health and wellness recommendations that may help them to better cope with daily stressors.
RK values our employees and understands the importance of mental health and wellness. The construction industry’s high rate of suicide stems from mental health issues, addiction, and a constantly changing job market. RK works diligently to ensure all of our employees receive the best mental and physical healthcare available. If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide please call 1.800.273.8255.