LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — It is National Suicide Prevention Month, but for the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), it’s Construction Suicide Prevention Week.

The numbers on a national level are shocking.

The construction industry has a rate of suicide that is four times higher than the general population.

“In 2018, there were 1,008 construction fatalities, but 5.242 suicides,” said DeShon Leek, a southeastern representative for Michigan Building Trades. “These numbers are alarming, they’re disturbing and unacceptable.”

Officials and Barton Malow construction crews gathered at the developing Ultium Cells facility in Lansing on Thursday to discuss the connection between the health and safety of construction workers and vital construction projects across the state.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer recently proclaimed the week of Sept. 5-9 as Construction Suicide Prevention Week in Michigan.

“It’s our jobs as leaders at Barton Malow to raise awareness and to talk to each of our team members and it’s through events like this and posting things on the job site and having toolbox talks and just getting the message out that it’s okay to talk about it,” Brian Miller, the vice president of Barton Malow said.

Leek lost a friend of his own to suicide and said that if suicide prevention measures had been in place, his friend may still be alive today.

“I wish we would’ve had the opportunity to have these programs for him to get some treatment. So if you or anybody you know is having problems, suffering from depression please use these resources,” said Leek. “You’re not just a number that’s building Michigan you’re my brother, you’re my sister out there.”

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