A recent publication by the US Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that workers in the Mining, Quarrying, and Oil and Gas Extraction, and Construction industries have the highest rate of suicide of any occupation.
This issue is being explored in Canada by Dr. Sara Dorow, Chair of Sociology at University of Alberta. She is working with community partner, Val O’Leary, to talk to men about their mental health and the impacts of their work conditions on their well-being. OTM recently interviewed Sara about her research. You can read the interview here.
For those in St. John’s who want to learn more about this issue, the Canadian Mental Health Association – NL is hosting a free breakfast session with the renowned Jorgen Gullestrup, CEO and Founder of MATES in Construction.
Jorgen will share the important and successful work that is being done to reduce the high level of suicide among construction workers and improve the mental health of workers in the industry.
The session is on Tuesday morning, February 25th, at the Emera Innovation Exchange (Conference Hall A – B2007A). There will be light refreshments at 8:30 AM and the session runs from 9-10:00 AM.
There are limited seats, so please register here: https://cmhanl.info/mentalhealthmatters
To hear more about what the construction industry is doing to address mental health in the workplace, the NL Construction Sector Association will be holding its annual Health and Safety Conference on February 26 and 27 at the Signal Hill Campus, St. John’s.
The theme is Safety Superheroes: Unmasked!, which speaks to the every day heroes who champion safety in the workplace. The conference starts with a presentation by Jorgen Gullestrup, CEO and Founder of MATES in Construction, a charity to reduce the high level of suicide among construction worker.
Live streaming options available. To register or find more information, visit their website here.
To raise awareness about this issue, we recently screened the film “Digging in the Dirt,” a powerful documentary on mobility and mental health in Fort McMurrary, AB.
Profiling several oil and gas workers, their families, and experts in the field (including OTM Co-Investigator Dr. Sara Dorow and community partner Val O’Leary), the film explores the benefits and costs of the industry as men share their stories of depression and drug addiction spurred by a toxic mixture of high salaries and machismo work camp culture.
At the film screening, we were pleased to be joined by Bill Jeffrey who is leading The Lonely Man project to raise awareness and end the stigma around men’s mental health.
Bill has also written a song about the crisis and recently released a music video for it. You can find it here.