Be Vocal, Be Visible, Be Visionary The Role of Union Leadership in Suicide Prevention

“Be vocal, be visible, be visionary. There is no shame in stepping forward, but there is great risk in holding back and just hoping for the best.” ~Higher Education Center

When it comes to suicide prevention in the workplace, we need bold leaders — leaders who are willing to take a stand and say, “suicide prevention matters to me, and it matters to our workforce.” We need leaders with a vision to aspire to a zero suicide mindset and to yield their influence to creating a culture of caring and mental wellbeing. When workers are having a hard time, we need leaders to notice and tell them, “If you reach out to me when you are suffering, I’ve got your back. I will persist with you until we’ve found the right support and resources to help you be your best self again. You matter to us and we need you to achieve our mission.”

In this episode we will hear from one leader who is doing just that within the construction industry — within labor specifically — building upon the culture of “we are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers.”

About Chris Carlough

Chris Carlough.jpg

Chris Carlough is the Director of Education for the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART) and is a tireless advocate for union members and their families struggling with substance use disorder, suicide prevention and other mental health issues.

Through the SMART MAP training initiative, SMART is building a network of trained compassionate union members who offer support and guidance to union members and their families struggling with a variety of chemical dependency issues.

Show Notes

CDC Report on Occupation and Suicide Rate: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/67/wr/mm6745a1.htm

SMART Member Assistance Program: https://smart-union.org/smart-map/

SMART interview with Carlough: https://www.smart-local.org/local-540/news/industry-embraces-mental-health-and-suicide-prevention

SMACNA (SHEET METAL & AIR CONDITIONING CONTRACTORS’ NATIONAL ASSOCIATIONS) uicide Prevention: https://www.smacna.org/resources/resource/2018/12/05/suicide-prevention-chapters-can-make-a-difference

SMACNA Article: Contractors Helping Employees Address Mental Health Concerns https://www.smacna.org/news/latest/archives/2018/08/14/contractors-helping-employees-address-mental-health-concerns

Construction Working Minds Program: http://www.constructionworkingminds.org/

Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention http://www.cfma.org/news/content.cfm?ItemNumber=4570

Breaking the Silence Flyer (IRMI) https://www.irmi.com/docs/default-source/crc-documents/gebha-flyer---breaking-the-silence-suicide-prevention.pdf?sfvrsn=6

CONSTRUCTION + SUICIDE PREVENTION: WHY IS THIS AN INDUSTRY IMPERATIVE? 10 Questions LEADERS MUST ASK Themselves http://www.constructionworkingminds.org/assets/constsuicprev10quesv5.pdf