The Construction Industry Alliance’s Suicide Prevention Summit was a tremendous experience of information, lived experiences and inspiration. Keynote international speaker Sally Spencer-Thomas gave a compelling presentation, including her own story. Sally aims to change the conversations we have about mental illness and suicide. Even the language describing these situations people live with needs to alter. (See photos.) She is particularly concerned about the construction industry due to its ranking of highest number of suicides. (CDC 2012) Sally creatively shared how the culture (stoic/macho), age (45-52) and race (Caucasian) are risk factors. For companies, for every $1 spent on prevention, $2.50 is saved in productivity. Surviving families estimate that twenty co-workers are affected by one suicide. And so on…

 This must-watch video has been extremely effective in getting men to self-assess. Man Therapy

 Two kind, brave speakers shared their lived experiences about family members who died by suicide.

A panel discussion by professionals in suicide prevention work in Tennessee talked about how mental health and crisis intervention are handled locally. (Vanderbilt, Centerstone, TN Suicide Prevention Network, Mental Health Cooperative) They all provided resources to take back to companies. The biggest message was to have a plan, to discuss with your employees who and what resources are available and to be open about mental health issues and stress-related employees.

We are grateful to Doug Whittum at HCA where the event was hosted and to the sponsors - HUB / Brasfield & Gorrie / Stansell Electric / Rock City Construction.

Please see the pdf of Sally's presentation here.