# 156879314@Marcos Calvo Mesa|Dreamstime
Could H.O. P. E. Certification Help Prevent High Suicide Rate in Construction?

Could H.O. P. E. Certification Help Prevent High Suicide Rate in Construction?

May 7, 2024
"This certification gives us the tools and knowledge to help our teammates through some of the toughest times they may experience in their lives," said Encore Electric.

By now it’s pretty well known that the suicide rate in the construction industry is a tragic problem. We reported in Oct. 2023 that 5,000 people in this field commit suicide each year. That is more than five times more than the annual number of jobsite fatalities. 

The industry is aware of and is trying to address the issue in a number of ways. One is the upcoming Construction Suicide Prevent Week, being held Sept. 9-13,2024.

Another way to address the issue is for a company to complete a H.O.P.E. Certification, which offers a path to psychological health and safety at work. The benefit of this process can be compared to what LEED Certification does for promoting environmental health in organizations.

Supported by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and United Suicide Survivors International, this certification was developed by members of the national Workplace Prevention and Postvention Committee co-chaired by Dr. Jodi Jacobson Frey and Dr. Sally Spencer-Thomas. 

Spencer-Thomas is the lead author of the evidence-informed set of suicide prevention best practices, known as the National Guidelines for Workplace Suicide Prevention in 2019.

The 12-month program offers quarterly training and ongoing coaching on how to implement nine evidence-based practices:

1.     Engage Leadership: Cultivate a caring culture focused on community well-being and leadership role modeling.

2.     Reduce Psychosocial Hazards: Assess and address job strain and toxic work contributors.

3.     Build a Culture-Shifting Communication Strategy: Increase awareness and understanding of mental health, addictive behaviors, and suicide while reducing fear and bias.

4.     Foster Self-Care Orientation: Encourage self-screening, stress inoculation planning, and self-care.

5.     Establish a Skill-Development Training: Build a stratified skill-building approach to mental health promotion and suicide prevention across the organization and career of the workforce.

6.     Develop Workplace Peer Supporters and Well-Being Ambassadors: Establish informal and formal initiatives for peer allies to offer support and be a bridge to resources

7.     Audit and Promote Mental Health and Crisis Resources: Evaluate the effectiveness and accessibility of resources and engage the workforce utilization.

8.     Mitigate Risk: Increase lethal means safety, engage in harm reduction, and understand legal issues.

9.     Institute a Crisis Response Plan: Support, accommodate, reintegrate, and offer postvention after mental health emergencies.

On April 20, the organization announced that Colorado will become the second state in the nation with businesses that have completed the program, following New York. In Colorado three companies were in the construction business. 

“For too long, we in the construction industry have hoped that the mental health issues our teammates experience would resolve themselves," said Kevin Villegas, senior manager of Marketing Communications for Encore Electric, in a statement. "Now we’re taking proactive action to address those matters. We have a responsibility to take care of each other, and the work we’ve done to achieve H.O.P.E. Certification gives us the tools and knowledge to help our teammates through some of the toughest times they may experience in their lives.” 

Other resources 



NY Post on New Program

Sponsored Recommendations

ISO 45001: Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems (OHSMS)

March 28, 2024
ISO 45001 certification – reduce your organizational risk and promote occupational health and safety (OHS) by working with SGS to achieve certification or migrate to the new standard...

Want to Verify your GHG Emissions Inventory?

March 28, 2024
With the increased focus on climate change, measuring your organization’s carbon footprint is an important first action step. Our Green House Gas (GHG) verification services provide...

Download Free ESG White Paper

March 28, 2024
The Rise and Challenges of ESG – Your Journey to Enhanced Sustainability, Brand and Investor Potential

Work Safety Tips: 5 Tactics to Build Employee Engagement for Workplace Safety

March 13, 2024
Employee safety engagement strategies have become increasingly key to fostering a safer workplace environment. But, how exactly do you encourage employee buy-in when it comes ...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of EHS Today, create an account today!