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Fox Business: Suicide Rate Among Construction Workers Hits Crisis Levels

The construction industry has one of the highest suicide rates compared to other industries, the CDC said.


Kevin O’Shea, president of Shamrock Electric Co., Inc., has one vital message to construction workers who are struggling with their mental health: call him. 

It's a message he shares as much as possible, given the growing number of suicides among workers in the industry. 

"I'm not a professional. I'm just some guy that would rather hear you tell me your story than hear your friend tell me your eulogy," O'Shea told FOX Business. 

While he isn't a professional in the medical sense, O'Shea has been in the industry for nearly five decades and has come face to face with colleagues and employees who have considered suicide. O'Shea isn't a stranger to mental health issues either, admitting that he has found ways to deal with his tremors, ADHD, and depression. 

According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the construction industry has one of the highest suicide rates compared to other industries. About 56 out of 100,000 men in construction die by suicide, according to data published in 2021.

In 2016, the suicide rate for men in construction and extraction occupations was over 49 per 100,000, which was almost twice the total suicide rate for civilian working men between 16 and 64 years old in 32 states and five times greater than the rate for all fatal work-related injuries in the industry. 

When O'Shea found how bad the statistics were, he started doing everything in his power to raise awareness about this issue. "We have to be our brothers and sisters, keepers, that we have to watch out for each other. We have to make sure that if somebody is hurting, we recognize the signs and we help that person," he said, adding that "if we can save one person. That's a step in the right direction."

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