Sault Ste. Marie –

Sault Ste. Marie’s community career centre and local construction association are looking to be proactive when it comes to mental health challenges in the trades.

The two organizations will be hosting a conference for mental health in construction in November, in an effort to open the discussion through the industry on growing mental health and addictions-related concerns.

“In speaking with some of our local employers, it became very apparent that this was something needed,” said Beth Lacher, of the Career Centre.

“We needed to be addressing the conversation around mental health and making sure that employees in the construction sector have access to the supports that they need.”

Lacher said gender stereotypes can often be debilitating for those in need of help. Specifically, the fact that it’s historically uncommon for men to encourage discussion.

“Mental health in the construction trades is still not spoken about very often and it certainly is very prevalent in the industry,” said Lacher. “It’s certainly improving, but we still have a long way to go to create comfortable environments for those discussions.”

De Novo, a Muskoka-based treatment centre, will be attending the conference as a guest speakers.

The facility specializes in treatment for those in the trades and has been researching some of the reasons why opioid use and addictions are rising in the industry.

“We do want to start at least having conversations about how critical it is that employers and unions start supporting their members and how to support their members,” said Aaron Sinclair, executive director.

“So with the information from our research, we’re hoping to be able to provide more resources and more education and start to address some of the concerns we have, more appropriately.”

Sinclair said he’s hoping to be able to share some preliminary findings during the conference.

The conference itself is free to attend and takes place at the Quattro hotel on Nov. 18. 


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