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Mental health is a difficult topic to address in the workplace. Pretending that mental health concerns are not something affecting your workplace could end up costing you money. Studies show that when left untreated, mental health issues cause people to miss 5 percent more days from work. Considering mental health issues affect one in four people, according to the World Health Organization, this is probably affecting your office—whether you know it or not.

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A national poll of United States employees found that 76 percent of workers struggled with at least one issue that affected their mental health. Behavioral health problems, including substance abuse, can harm employee performance and wellbeing in significant ways. In the construction industry, the risks are far greater.

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Because most suicide deaths do not occur at a worksite, suicide has not historically been “on the radar” of safety professionals. When a workplace fatality happens, the cause is almost always determined to be “accidental” and a more thorough investigation is not undertaken. Since a deeper inspection is not done, the only remedy suggested is more safety training. While safety training will help those who did not intend self-harm, it will not benefit those whose death is intentional. Suicide prevention efforts are needed.

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