Making Suicide Prevention a Health and Safety Priority

Keynote Presentations

You Can't Fix Your Mental Health with Duct Tape: Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Promotion in Construction - A New Frontier in Safety


Sally Spencer-Thomas, Psy.D


OVERVIEW: The construction industry continuously strives to make safety management a core value and practice – aiming toward attaining zero incidents and injuries. Still, when it comes to suicide, the construction industry consistently ranks in the top ten industries for highest risk. Thus, recently an expanded emphasis on behavioral safety approaches challenges business owners to widen these definitions of what it means to value health and safety. A construction industry initiative addressing mental health and suicide prevention is ushering in a new frontier for safety.


Sadly, too many business owners have faced the tragedy of losing an employee to suicide. Because mental health conditions and suicidal thoughts are often invisible to the outside world, many people do not realize how common these challenges are. This presentation lets construction leaders know they are not alone when facing these challenges and provides proven strategies in building a comprehensive and sustained approach to saving lives.


Using science, stories – and even a touch of humor – Dr. Spencer-Thomas engages and inspires participants and invites them to “be bold” to lead their companies in psychological health and safety.

GOAL: To increase confidence and competence among participants in addressing suicide prevention, intervention and crisis response.


Objectives: By the end of the presentation, participants will be able to:

  1. Articulate relevant trends in suicide data in the U.S.
  2. Describe why the construction industry is at higher risk for suicide
  3. Identify at least three key strategies in a comprehensive approach to suicide prevention and crisis response



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