IBEW Local 11 Campaigns
More construction workers die by suicide than from job site injuries or accidents. Compared to the national average, a person working in construction is 3.5 times more likely to take their own life. The construction industry was ranked the 7th worst for mental health among 22 industries, and while one in five workers will receive a mental health diagnosis, less than 50 percent will seek support.
These are serious mental and physical concerns with devastating real-life consequences whose combined demographic, environmental, and emotional roots run deep and are always deeply personal.
Adding to this crippling combination of high physical and mental stress is the self-imposed stigma many members associate with first admitting they need help and then asking for it. This demonstrates just how at-risk workers are and is a primary factor in why they suffer from a drug and alcohol addiction rate more than double the national average.
What IBEW 11 is Doing About It
IBEW 11 is providing members with access to the resources and programs they need to lower these alarming suicide rates and simultaneously shatter the stigma associated with admitting they need help by making sure they know they are never alone.
Every IBEW 11 member is part of a family whose brothers and sisters are always ready to pull each other up. When you’re struggling and need help, reach out. IBEW 11: We Are Family.
Here’s how you can give a hand and get one if you need one.
IBEW Local 11 Recovery Group
IBEW 11 this year launched the IBEW Local 11 Recovery Group, its first-ever district-by-district substance abuse and mental health recovery program.
IBEW 11 member Zac Solomon, who co-founded the Group with Local 11 Safety Officer Mike Costigan, is now hosting meetings at every Local 11 district meeting hall to help members set up a template he created (based on the 12-step addiction recovery model) that they can then run themselves.
In these open forums members who may be struggling can come together and share and learn from those who have overcome those same physical and psychological battles.
“Construction workers, especially electricians, tend to be strong men and women who don’t talk about our feelings and don’t discuss our private issues, and that can’t be further from what needs to happen,” said Solomon. “We need to be able to openly discuss these sorts of issues if we need help.”
Breaking Bread Together
To address the alarming suicide rate in the construction industry, IBEW 11 has teamed with IBEW 440 on a new Break Bread program to ensure no member feels alone on Thanksgiving. While many of us are fortunate to have enough food on our tables and the warmth of our loving families around us, we know not every member shares this privilege.
For members who are able to extend an invitation to a fellow brother and sister who would otherwise spend Thanksgiving alone, please use the QR code to sign up for Break Bread. When you do, you offer a sense of belonging and inclusion to those who may be feeling isolated.
And, if you are a member without a place to go this Thanksgiving, go ahead and use the QR code to connect with a fellow member who has volunteered to host a union brother or sister for the holiday.
We firmly believe that no one should spend Thanksgiving alone. Through Break Bread, we hope to foster a supportive community where everyone feels valued and cared.