The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic combined with substance abuse and addiction is taking a toll on those working in the construction industry.
In British Columbia, a new program hopes to help many of those workers deal with mental health challenges.
The Independent Contractors and Businesses Association (ICBA) has launched its new ICBA Workplace Wellness Program, which is designed specifically to help those in the construction industry seeking help.
The association says the risk of suicide for those working in construction is seven times higher than the national average.
According to statistics in a 2018 BC Coroners report, more than half of the employed people who have died due to overdoses during the opioid crisis worked in the trades and transport sector.
The ICBA Wellness Program has been developed specifically for the construction industry with the support of leading experts on mental health. The ICBA says the program is designed to create lasting change.
“Our program is designed to break down the stigma and it’s a year-long program,” said Chris Gardner, president of the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association.
“Everything is focused on the construction worker, so the images, the graphics, the topics, the language, is in simple nugget-sized bits of information that can be conveyed easily.”
Gardner adds that it’s not just about issues related to drug use or suicide, but more of a holistic approach that covers a whole host of challenges that people who are struggling may be facing.
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