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During Mental Health Awareness Month (and every month), you are not alone

Bruce Morton is a senior loss control consultant in the Milwaukee office of the Marsh McLennan Agency. He can be reached at [email protected]

Over the past few weeks, I had the chance to reflect on some things.

First was a phone call I received from a client. There was an attempted suicide at their construction company. Thankfully, they had trained employees to help to de-escalate the situation and get law enforcement involved to help the employee out. They were able to support the employee, as well as the company as a whole. Luckily, this company was prepared. But what happens when companies are not prepared for a horrific and scary situation like this. How can we help them? How do we get the word out? How do we break the stigma?

Recently I attended Blue Jean Bingo – NAMI Southeast Wisconsin with my wife and some friends. The theme was “Be a Light in the Darkness.” The event sold out, which is amazing and, yes, we did play bingo and was soooo much fun! We also talked about mental health and a family shared their story about their son and the struggles they went through. This reminded me about our family struggles and brought back a lot of memories that, to be honest, were not good ones. Toward the end of the event, they gave the crowd glow sticks and asked us to light them. The emcee made a statement about mental health and asked us to stand if we were affected by any of statements she read. Everyone stood up, one by one, and he kept repeating YOU ARE NOT ALONE! YOU ARE NOT ALONE! YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

What initiatives should we be putting forth to support mental health? For the Wisconsin Construction Wellness Community, we plan to go to jobsites to discuss mental health and suicide prevention in the construction industry. This will put us, as safety professionals, forward facing for the employees to reach out to if needed. It also gets more companies engaging in mental health conversation.

Where do we go from here? The message is quite simple; we support our companies, our co-workers, our families and our friends in the conversation of mental health. There are resources out there and people out there who want to help and support the people in our lives.

For me, I plan to go on a little vacation up north to recharge knowing May might be a difficult one with calls, emails and texts dealing with this especially important subject.

As we support others we have to remember to support ourselves so we are the best version we want to be in order to be there for others. Just remember YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

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