Total Safety Blog

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

In the construction industry, mental health is a seldom topic that is often swept under the rug due to the stigma it can carry. In an industry that is predominately male, the stereotype is that men must be both physically and mentally tough to endure the job. However, this should not be at the detriment of their mental health. Mental health may be a sensitive topic, but it is imperative to address one’s mental health by practicing relieving techniques that include a healthier diet and exercise. One can also enlist the help of a support group or mental health professional, should the need arise. Since 1949, Mental Health America has been observing Mental Health Month in May by spreading the word about the importance of mental health to millions of people. The importance of mental health must echo into the construction industry in order to improve the industry’s overall mental health.

The Importance of Mental Health

When you think about being healthy, you may consider your physical health and making sure your body is healthy by eating right and exercising. However, taking care of your body physically can also lead to improvements in your mental health. Mental health is equally as important as physical health and it is essential to your overall wellbeing. It is important to recognize that mental illnesses are common and treatable with the right help. 

Practices to Improve Mental Health

The theme for this year’s Mental Health Month is 4Mind4Body, which emphasizes the idea that living a healthy lifestyle can help to prevent the onset or worsening of mental health conditions. Some of the things that can help your mental health include exercise, social connections, work-life balance, getting good sleep, and getting help from a professional. 

  1. Exercise – Exercising your body can have tremendous improvements on your overall health. Regular exercise can have a positive impact on depression and anxiety as well as reduce stress and boost your overall mood. 
  2. Get Better Sleep – Sleeping for seven to eight hours a night will have a positive impact on your mental health. May is also Better Sleep Month. For tips on how to sleep better, visit The Better Sleep Council
  3. Social Connections – People who have strong social relationships are 50% more likely to live longer. Those who have poor social supports have a harder time recovering from mental illnesses. Make sure to spend time developing social connections with other people and spend time with the people you care about. 
  4. Work-Life Balance – Poor work-live balance increases your risk for health conditions, including mental health problems. Those who have a good balance between work and life are more satisfied and experience fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety. Don’t let work take over your life. Make sure you are taking time off of work to attend to your mental health if necessary.
  5. Reduce or Quit Drinking Outright – Construction workers are more susceptible to alcohol abuse, and display the 2nd highest rate of heavy alcohol consumption in blue collar workers. Alcohol can induce depression, and can create a vicious cycle for construction workers. To learn more, our training academy offers a two hour awareness course, one that is also required for the NYC construction industry.
  6. Enlist Professional Help – If you need help with a mental health condition, do not hesitate to get the help of a metal health professional. Most mental illnesses can be treated if you have the right support system in place. 

Destigmatizing Mental Health Issues

Unfortunately, mental health issues still have a stigma in work and personal communities. 1 in 5 adults experience a mental illness in a given year. It is important to realize that mental illnesses are common, and they can come in many forms. It is okay to open up about mental problems you may have at home, at work, or in your community. Opening up to others can help improve your situation and allow you to get the help that you need. If someone around you tells you about the problems they have been facing, make sure to take the time to listen to them and take them seriously. 

For more information about raising mental health awareness, visit the Mental Health America website. 

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