Mental Health Awareness
New Braunfels, TX, May 24, 2023
We have been talking for the last few weeks about national safety and compliance initiatives. While fall prevention is a critical topic and DOT compliance is a huge part of our business, I want to talk today about another initiative that can sometimes be an uncomfortable one. That topic is mental health awareness, and May happens to be the month nationally that is used to raise awareness on the topic. Just about 70% of adults experience symptoms of anxiety and 17.3% of adults experience some form of depression. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that the construction industry has the 2nd highest suicide rate when compared to other industries. We could debate for hours why that is but at the end of the day, one life lost is one too many. We have said it several times in the past but it’s worth saying again, here at Ontivity, we are a family and family takes care of each other. Today we are going to do our part to raise mental health awareness and cover 3 key points to help tackle this topic.
BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR WARNING SIGNS
There are many forms of mental health issues. Some of the more common ones are depression and anxiety. Coworkers that are affected by these conditions may exhibit a lack of focus, slower reaction times, and/or impaired decision-making. If you notice that one of your peers suddenly displays a change in behavior including being late, are less productive, have mood swings, or seem more irritable they just might need some help. It may be nothing but there is no way to know without asking or letting someone know so we can be 100% sure. Checking in with your coworkers to let them know you care demonstrates respect and concern for their well‐being. Taking time to listen or being patient can go a long way to making people feel cared for. You don’t even have to always have the answer for them, sometimes just listening is all someone needs. If one of your peers happens to raise concerns to you or someone in the company because they are concerned. Remember, they are looking out for you not trying to add more stress to your situation, so don’t get mad at them or push them away.
KNOW THAT ITS OK TO ASK FOR HELP
Ultimately, you have to take care of yourself to break the cycle of feeling down. That may look different for everyone, but things like exercise, meditation, or simply doing more of the things that you enjoy can help. Remember, sometimes you may feel like you have too much
stress to handle on your own, and that is ok. If you are feeling overwhelmed by stress or anxiety, or just don’t feel like yourself you must ask for help. Asking for help doesn’t mean you are weak. You shouldn’t be afraid people will look at you differently or talk about you behind your back. That’s not how we treat our family here. Try to think of the step in a positive way, your asking for help might just be what it takes to give someone else the courage to do the same.
USE THE RESOURCES YOU HAVE AVAILABLE
No two people are the same—and so there are no one-size-fits-all solutions for tackling mental health concerns. Some of us might just need to get some things off our chest. Others might need other forms of assistance. Whatever the case might be there are many resources to get help, many of which cost nothing. One way is to simply talk to someone at work. You might even consider reaching out to a close friend or family member. There are many national organizations that can help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Organizations like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline which can be reached by calling 800-273-8255 and the Crisis text line which can be reached by texting hello to 741741 are two examples. Ontivity offers our family members an Employee Assistance Program or EAP for short that is anonymous and available to all Ontivity family members 24/7. Many companies do the same for their employees. Reach out to an HR representative for more information.
For far too long it has been considered taboo, or a sign of weakness to talk about mental health at work or at all for that matter. Fortunately, the stigma over talking about mental health is changing and we here at the Ontivity family of companies are working to be a leader in tackling the issue head-on. While this topic can be very uncomfortable to talk about for everyone, please remember family cares for each other and we can’t ignore the signs, nor can we be too proud to ask for help. As the old saying goes, “Where there is smoke there is fire” so do your part to help put out the flames! We each care a great deal for the people we work next to every day. That compassion should be what pushes you to Make the Call for yourself or your peer!
If you would like more information on this topic or any other safety-related topic, please reach out to the Ontivity safety team at email@example.com, and we will get you taken care of.