Suicide Prevention: Our Collective Responsibility

by Balfour Beatty

September 1, 2022

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, during which Balfour Beatty joins organizations across the U.S. in raising awareness about suicide prevention and mental health resources. 

Suicide prevention is a vital component of Balfour Beatty’s commitment to Zero Harm. As an industry leader in a field that consistently experiences high suicide rates, Balfour Beatty aims to inspire our teammates, trade partners, and peer organizations to recognize the warning signs of suicide early and act accordingly, and to provide employees with vital mental health resources.

As part of the month’s observance, Balfour Beatty will host a suicide prevention webinar with subject matter expert Michelle Walker, a founding leader of the Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention (CIASP) and current vice president of operations at SSC Underground. This event will encourage vital dialogue and awareness about the prevalence of suicide in the construction industry and ways we can all help foster safe and supportive workplace environments.

One of Balfour Beatty’s priorities is that every person – on a job site or in an office – is fit for work. Work-ready fitness is not just a state of physical health and readiness but also of emotional and mental health. When workers are mentally and emotionally healthy, they feel better equipped to approach their work with focus and clarity, reducing accident and injury risk and benefiting every aspect of their teams and projects. 

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), construction workers have the second highest suicide rate of any vocation in the nation. Contributing factors are believed to include:

  • Periods of unsteady or seasonal employment
  • Mental health stigma
  • Sleep disruption
  • Chronic pain related to manual labor
  • Jobsite travel, which may separate workers from social support circles
  • Frequent physical strain
  • Access to means of committing suicide
  • Pressure to finish projects

Whatever the cause of an individual’s mental health struggle, our mission as a community of construction professionals is to reduce construction worker suicide rates. Beyond Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, Balfour Beatty is committed to cultivating ongoing mental health outreach, advocacy, and support structures.