The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) is partnering with more than 800 leading companies, associations and mental health advocates in the first-ever Mental Health Action Day, to be held on Thursday, May 20.
Over the past two decades, suicide rates have risen, particularly among construction professionals. The COVID pandemic has accelerated an already dire crisis, giving way to what many mental health professionals have called the “second pandemic.”
Though more people than ever are comfortable discussing mental health, finding effective resources and knowing how to get help remains a challenge. Mental Health Action Day is an open-source movement to drive culture from mental health awareness to mental health action.
“I personally know several people in the industry who lost their lives to suicide since the Great Recession, and the pandemic will only exacerbate that trend,” said J. Gary Hill, chairman of the NAHB Construction Safety and Health Committee and a home builder in North Carolina. “I hope we all realize this is very serious and that we begin to notice how construction workers feel, and if we sense something is wrong, we should not ignore it and try to help.”
Recognizing a need for resources focused on the construction industry, NAHB last year launched an initiative focused on member mental health and wellbeing with financial support from ASAE Research Foundation and the Job-Site Safety Institute. On May 20, NAHB is calling on home building professionals to pause for a few minutes to take a free, confidential mental health screening developed by MindWise Innovations, an NAHB partner in the initiative.
“Trade associations play a key role in shaping the culture of an industry,” noted Randy Strauss, chairman of the NAHB Construction Liability, Risk Management, and Building Materials and a home builder in Ohio. “We felt it was very important for NAHB to lead on this issue and start to change the conversation around mental health issues. The Mental Health Action Day provides the perfect opportunity to shift awareness to action in the home building industry.”
NAHB members and home builders associations (HBAs) are invited to use the resources provided on the NAHB Member Mental Health and Wellbeing resources page. Personal stories or encouragement to others are welcomed on May 20 using the hashtag #MentalHealthAction on social media.