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NAHB Chairman's Letter: Mental Health and Worker Well-Being

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NAHB Chairman's Letter: Mental Health and Worker Well-Being

The NAHB has been leading the charge on mental health and well-being and recently teamed up with experts to help transform the often-stigmatized nature of mental illness among construction workers


By Chuck Fowke, NAHB 2021 Chairman May 4, 2021
Mental health, silhouette of head with crumbled colored paper
Construction workers are particularly susceptible to behavioral health issues. The industry has one of the highest suicide rates among its workers, with more dying by suicide each day than all workplace-related fatalities combined.  | Image: stock.adobe.com

Many of us have dealt with increased stress, anxiety, and other effects from the COVID-19 pandemic this past year. Home builders are no exception. But the tough exteriors of many men and women in our field can sometimes hide underlying mental health concerns. 

Construction workers are particularly susceptible to behavioral health issues. The industry has one of the highest suicide rates among its workers, with more dying by suicide each day than all workplace-related fatalities combined. 

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) is dedicated to making everyone in our industry aware of the seriousness of this far-reaching issue and to helping curb the long-lasting effects it has on our businesses, families, and communities. We have been leading the charge on mental health and well-being and recently teamed up with experts in the field to help transform the often-stigmatized nature of mental illness. 

In a joint effort between the NAHB Construction Safety and Health Committee and the Construction Liability, Risk Management, and Building Materials Committee, we are working to change the culture in our industry around mental health awareness by providing resources specifically tailored to construction workers, managers, developers, and business owners; tools to help identify and learn more about mental health and addiction issues.

Through a partnership with digital behavioral health solutions provider MindWise Innovations, mental health screenings can help determine if you or someone you care about should connect with a behavioral health professional.

NAHB is working to change the culture in our industry around mental health awareness by providing resources specifically tailored to construction workers, managers, developers, and business owners.

NAHB also now has a learning portal customized for the construction industry by Shatterproof, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to ending the substance use addiction crisis in the U.S. Through the “Just Five” portal, members can learn in just 5 minutes per lesson about the most important concepts and facts regarding addiction, who is at risk, and how to know if a person has a substance use disorder.

Both resources are available to members as well as anyone in the construction industry—including friends and family, free of charge on nahb.org. The website also contains a wealth of material, including articles and webinars focused on mental health resources for employers, Toolbox talks on self-care, and suicide prevention resources.

NAHB was recently selected as one of just three recipients of a 2021 Innovation Grant from the American Society of Association Executives Research Foundation. The grant will be used to continue to develop resources for this ongoing mental health initiative. NAHB also has received funding from the Job-Site Safety Institute to support the effort. And we’ve joined the Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention, a coalition of contractors, trade unions and associations, industry service providers, and others working to raise awareness about the importance of mental health and suicide prevention.

It’s time to get serious about this critical issue facing our industry. Mental health is a safety concern on the jobsite, and these resources are intended to keep workers safe, both physically and mentally.
I hope you will join me to increase awareness of the issue and address the well-being of our industry’s best asset: its workers.

W2W4

• Check out the NAHB channel on Horizon TV, including a video version of Eye on Housing, for the latest market intelligence, as well as a monthly taping of the Housing on the Hill podcast, for an update on federal advocacy efforts.

• Self-administered mental health screenings are now available at nahb.org. The tool is completely private and designed to help determine whether you or someone you care about should connect with a mental health professional.
 

Written By

John “Chuck” Fowke, a Tampa, Fla.-based custom home builder with 40 years of experience in the home building industry, is the National Association of Home Builders' 2021 Chairman of the Board. Fowke has been active in the NAHB leadership structure at the local, state, and national levels throughout his career.

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