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Academics discuss ‘silent pandemic’ of construction worker suicide

The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) published to its NAE Perspectives page an article from two academics that examines the causes of increased suicide among construction workers, using data from a 2020 survey that found more than 80 percent of employees in the industry had struggled with mental health issues.

Read the full article.

The analysis, co-written by Penn State Associate Vice Chancellor Sharareh Kermanshachi and Apurva Pamidimukkala with the University of Texas at Arlington, reveals what the authors call a “silent pandemic,” due to stigma around discussions of mental health.

“Sadly, their silence prevents them from getting help and exacerbates their challenges,” they write.

Kermanshachi and Pamidimukkala point to the unpredictable employment patterns across the construction industry, as well as the combination of the physical nature of the job and pain treatment, as contributing factors. They also identify some approaches for contractors, noting that “by placing equal importance on mental and physical health, companies demonstrate their commitment to the overall well-being of their workforce.”

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