Working in construction is rough on the body. Statistics show it can also be rough on the mind, especially during an economic downturn. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists the construction industry as having one of the highest suicide rates in the country.
“In 2009 when the economy crashed, we had an alarming amount of suicides. We were losing a carpenter about every three days,” said Frank Hawk, COO of Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters. The union is responsible for building much of Las Vegas’s infrastructure.
Mental health isn’t a hot topic for carpentry, but Hawk is fighting to start the difficult and important conversations. When the economy started to struggle amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Hawk and other industry leaders formed a committee named BOSS, which stands for Brotherhood of Strength and Support.
The program is meant to break the stigma surrounding mental health and get union members who are struggling connected to the right resources.