Sheet Metal Occupational Health Institute Trust Administrator Randy Krocka discussed the organization, mental health and substance abuse suicide prevention and more on the Sept. 2 episode of America’s Work Force Radio Podcast.
He said SMOHIT originated in the late 1980’s as an initiative to help sheet metal workers who had been affected by asbestos exposure. Since the levels of exposure have dropped, SMOHIT has begun focusing on mental health, substance abuse and other issues.
Krocka said he would like to see the stigma around construction workers discussing personal issues disappear.
Due to the pandemic, SMOHIT has not been able to host in-person sessions. Krocka said there is a silver lining. With sessions being online, more people who otherwise would not be able to attend, can access the resources.
He highlighted the fact that the suicide rate among construction workers is four times the national average for the United States.
Krocka said the suicide rate is fueled by strenuous work. He also said the pressure to return to work after an injury is high. This often leads tradespeople to abuse painkillers, alcohol and more in order to manage their pain at work.
He added that there are 24/7 hotlines set up by many trades organizations where tradespeople can talk in confidentiality with professionals.
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