What is Mental Health?
Mental health refers to our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and behave, and plays a crucial role in our daily lives. Mental health awareness is essential to help reduce the stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness and promote understanding and support for those affected. May is dedicated to mental health awareness providing an opportunity to raise awareness about mental health issues and encourage those experiencing symptoms to seek support and treatment. It is also a time to celebrate the progress made in the field of mental health and advocate for more significant investments in mental health research and services. By promoting mental health awareness, we can reduce the barriers to accessing mental health care and help individuals live happier, healthier, and more fulfilling lives.
Mental health conditions can range from mild to severe and can impact a person’s ability to function in their daily lives. Some common conditions include anxiety disorders, depression, and bipolar disorder. If left untreated, mental health conditions can have long-term effects on a person’s physical health, relationships, and overall quality of life. For example, chronic stress and anxiety can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, and other physical health problems. In the United States, mental health is a significant public health concern, with approximately 1 in 5 adults experiencing a mental health condition in any given year. Additionally, mental health conditions affect 1 in 6 children aged 6-17 years old. Despite the prevalence of mental health conditions, many individuals do not seek treatment due to social stigma, lack of access to affordable care, and other barriers.
Mental Health and Construction
Mental health is a crucial aspect of overall well-being and is especially important in high-stress industries like construction. Unfortunately, the CDC rates the construction industry as having the highest suicide rate of all industries. One of the reasons involves the nature of this work, with construction workers often spending extended periods of time away from their home and loved ones. This isolation and lack of support can lead to feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and depression. This factor, combined with the physical demands of the job, the pressure to meet tight deadlines, and the risk of accidents can all contribute to mental health problems in the industry. In addition, despite ongoing efforts to enhance female representation, the construction industry remains predominately male who often struggle with the social stigma surrounding asking for help.
What Can We Do to Increase Awareness?
First, we need to fight the stigma, normalize the discussion surrounding mental health, and know that it’s “Okay to not be okay.” We should encourage communication and dialogue with our co-workers, friends, and family. We should look for changes in attendance and performance. We must begin to recognize the symptoms of anxiety and depression and the signs of struggle. Finally, we need to ensure we have the resources and support to create a safe and supportive environment for everyone.
On a personal level, examine your environment and how different factors affect your mental health. While many environmental factors may be out of your control, there are some ways to protect your well-being.
- Work toward ensuring safe and stable housing. Having safe, healthy, and stable home-life conditions set the foundation for maintaining good mental health.
- Focus on your home’s environment. Your home should give you feelings of comfort, support, and calmness. Tidy your space and get rid of clutter.
- Create bonds with your community and neighborhood. Having a sense of connection is crucial for mental well-being. Get to know your neighbors and involved in local community groups. Stay connected.
- Connect with nature. Spending time in nature produces many positive mental health outcomes, including lowering stress, improving focus, and reducing the risk of developing mental health conditions.
Mental health is a vital aspect of overall well-being, and it plays a crucial role in how we perform in our personal and professional lives. As an employer, BE&K recognizes the importance of mental health for its employees and therefore offers various resources to support their mental well-being. The availability of these resources, including counseling services, stress management programs, and mental health awareness initiatives, can help employees cope with stress, anxiety, and depression, among other mental health concerns. By prioritizing the mental health of its employees, BE&K fosters a positive work environment that promotes productivity, job satisfaction, and long-term employee retention.
If you or a loved one are suffering with a mental health challenge, seek help. Talk to your doctor and find a support network. If you are concerned about your child’s mental health, talk to your child’s teacher about their behavior and discuss it with your child’s pediatrician asking for referrals for mental health providers that specialize in treating children. You can also call the Substance Abuse / Mental Health Services Administration Treatment Referral Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) for referrals for providers near you. Many additional resources are available to improve your mental health so you can live a healthy, happy, and fulfilling life.
Additional Mental Health Resources
988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. The 988 Lifeline provides 24/7 free and confidential support to people in distress. You don’t need to be suicidal to reach out. Dial 988 or call 1-800-273-8255 to connect with a crisis counselor.
988 Textline. When you text 988, you will complete a short survey about your situation and will be connected with a crisis counselor who can answer the text, provide support, and share resources.
Mental Health Screening. Check in on your mental health. Take a free mental health assessment at mhascreening.org.