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The linkage between Safety and Mental Health & Fatigue with Dr. Tim Marsh

The Safety Guru_Dr. Tim Marsh_The linkage between Safety and Mental Health and Fatigue

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As we approach World Mental Health Day, tune in to identify the linkages between mental health and safety outcomes! In this insightful episode, Dr.Tim Marsh, discusses how organizations can improve their safety performance by taking a more holistic approach that also keeps leaders in tune with fatigue, anxiety and depression that could be increasing at risk work. Approaches such as developing supervisor soft skills and emphasizing the importance of actively caring are important tools for organizations to consider.

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Real leaders leave a legacy. They capture the hearts and minds of their teams. Their origin story puts the safety and wellbeing of their people. First. Great companies ubiquitously have safe yet productive operations. For those companies, safety is an investment, not a cost for the C-suite. It’s a real topic of daily focus. This is the Safety Guru with your host, Eric Michrowski, a globally recognized Ops and safety guru, public speaker and author. Are you ready to leave a safety legacy? Your legacy success story begins now. 

Hi and welcome to the Safety Guru today. I’m very excited to have with me, Dr. Tim Marsh. He’s a professor at Smith University in the United Kingdom. He brought in the 1990s behavioral and safety culture themes to Europe, has written many books. One of his top sellers was around talking safety and coming up in the autumn, we’ll have a new book that he’ll be publishing about talking health and safety, which is really a key topic for the conversation we have today. So, Tim, welcome to the show. 

Really excited to have you with me. 

Thank you for having me, Eric. 

Let’s start maybe first about yourself and how you got into this broad field of safety and safety culture. 

Sure. After I got a doctorate in psychology, I worked with the UK Mod and looking at recruit suicidal behaviors in young army recruits. While I finished that at the University, I was at Manchester University. They just started looking at behavioral safety techniques pioneered in America by the likes of Tom Browse, BSD and so on. And they were wondering if they might work in Europe. And the first European research project was at my university. And a colleague had started off that project but had left and they were looking for somebody to step in just for a couple of months to run the project while they found somebody suitable. 

And I just finished with the army. And they thought that it was all based on construction sites. And they thought that maybe somebody would work with squaddie in the army might be able to go to a construction and not get eaten. So, they asked me if I step in and I found it so enjoyable, but interesting, I never left. 

Interesting. So, you’ve done a lot of work linking mental health to safety outcomes. And I think this is a very important topic that a lot of people talk about mental health. Touch briefly in teams of the links to the safety, but don’t draw the full linkage. Tell me a little bit about some of the work you’ve done there and some of the research in this space. 

Yeah, sure. A lot of work has been done in mental health recently, particularly in places like the UK, because we’re aware of the fact that, for example, for every person we lose to an industrial accident, we will have 35 people of working age kill themselves. It’s something like five0 plays been 150 in the UK. Those are the figures. So, we’ve been doing a lot of work in that field anyway, because, of course, it’s tremendously inconvenient and morally awful to have people kill themselves. And we spent half a waking hour in work. 

So clearly what happens in work is relevant. But recently, some of our bigger clients, a large insurance company, QBE, asked me to look into the link between mental health and safety directly. And when you look at it, the research is inconclusive, controversial. It’s incredibly difficult to tease out what’s going on and why. If you know you can have been thinking it’s incredibly complex. It’s not complicated. It’s infinitely complex. So, for example, people who are really struggling, a lot of people who are really struggling have learned that the first thing they can do is to be nice to other people and be very pro social. 

It makes them feel better. So, it isn’t a simple linear relationship. But anyway, you got problems with reporting, you’ve got problems, people feeling going to be scapegoated, you’ve got problems with confidentiality, then you’ve got problems with medication, self-medication, all that. But when you look into it as best, we can tell, there are three factors that directly relink somebody having a bad day in work, somebody who’s struggling, and a propensity to have an accident. And those three things are that the first thing is if you’re struggling, you’re much more likely to be situationally aware, you’re distracted by other factors, thoughts, emotions, and are less situationally aware. 

So, you’re less likely to be aware of the risk. We all know that situational awareness is something we really want to avoid accidents. The second thing, of course, is if you know your Hydra triangle, we all know that the better work you do at the bottom of the triangle, the small at the top with the triangle, you get the love that you deserve. Not every day. There are no guarantees either way, but as a rule, you do well. The trouble with people who are struggling is they tend to be more fatalistic, of course. 

And if you fatalistic, you’re much less likely to be proactively working the bottom of the triangle and generating your own nut. And the third factor is, of course, people who are struggling can be grumpy. They can create risk around themselves, so they’re less likely to stop and challenge somebody in an effective way, much more likely to walk past situations where I saying nothing bugger them is as they go past, much more likely to be short with other people and have ineffective communications or worse than that, destructive communications where they’re actually awkward, difficult and reasonable and generates problems in others. 

So, for those three factors, there does seem to be a direct relationship between that mindset of an 85% of all mental health issues or depression or anxiety, the serious stuff. But 85%, I think the cost of the American economy has been estimated at 2 trillion a year, which is a big number. Who’s you and that is the 85% that is depression or anxiety and depression and anxiety. In essence, depression is simply spending time thinking about something that’s already happened in a negative way. Regrets is the obvious one biting us and so on. 

Anxiety really is spending a lot of time thinking about something that hasn’t happened yet in a negative way. So, anxiety and so on and all that depression and anxiety. We all do that. We all have those thoughts every day. Of course, we do. But if we have them to such an extent that it gets in the way, then it becomes a problem. That’s all it is. And people who had having too many Ops focus negative thoughts or future focus negative thoughts that it actually gets in the way and just more likely through those three factors to have problems at work? 

Absolutely. It’s quite controversial, but I think that is so self-evidently obvious. 

It makes a lot of sense. And I think a lot of people are touching on it. You draw the direct linkage between those themes, the challenges. A lot of organizations look at it separately. So, HR may be looking at mental health wellbeing and safety is looking at safety outcomes. What are some of the things that organizations or safety leaders can do to really address this part of safety? 

Yes. I think that the number one thing safety did is control. First of all, to be aware of it, not be afraid of it. There are all sorts of concerns that if you start talking about these things, you’re impacting on people’s private lives, it’s totally inappropriate. People will then not talk about anything. And you’ve got that classic thing where it’s been estimated that something like 85% of days taken off with bad backs are actually people taking days off because they’re struggling. If you have a bad back and you’ve got a positive mindset, I quote Dane Cowell Black over here in the UK on that. 

She’s a leader of all these things. And if you’ve got a bad back and you’re in a good place, you enjoy your work. I enjoy my work. I used to play a huge amount of golf when I was a young man. I’ve got a terribly bad back, like every heavy pot you played golf before. They were fully developed on. I just do stretch exercises. I just stand up while I stretch. There is that link on that controversy, but I think so. Don’t be afraid of it. 

It’s just what it is. But I think the number one thing that safety can do is to talk to occupational health and HR. I think that should be a key metric. How well does he get on with safety? 

I think, is a really important point. And what about organizations that aren’t really addressing mental health wellbeing fully, because obviously this is saying you’re more likely to have an accident. If you’re not addressing this in your workplace, what are some of the tactics that they should be bringing to the forefront to advance the need? 

They should be looking at it. We in the UK have been quoted in figures. One person in five is struggling on any given day. Some people they know it’s one in eight, nobody pushes back on nine and ten. So, if you’ve got 2000 employees out there constructing a bridge or a hospital or laying a rolled or whatever they’re doing that as a minimum. You got 2000 staff. You’ve got 200 people who are struggling. Now you’ve got two choices. One is you can try and analyze the extent and the causes and what you can do to help or you can just cross your fingers. 

We know from the world of safety, the crossing your fingers and hoping it goes away. 

It’s not good. It’s not necessarily proved entirely effective over the years. 

I hope it’s not a good plan. 

Well, it’s a tactic. 

It does. So, one of the things when you’re talking about mental health wellbeing, it links to a lot of themes as well. From a leadership standpoint safety leader have talked about. So, for example, active care to me is also about if I know who’s on my teams, I demonstrate care, maybe I’m more likely to notice a difference today. Tim showed up and maybe you’re not as Jovi as usual or something that looks different. What’s your thought in terms of active care, but other soft skills that could be really key from a supervisor in leadership standpoint? 

Well, the obvious thing, of course, is a lot of companies over here in the UK, Shell oil and gas have a very explicit culture of care. They promote an explicit culture of care, and that’s really just a person focus just to talk to people and try and notice them. So, it’s a dialogue piece very much reflected in the whole safety differently thrust the absolute essence of safety differently, which has had such an impact around the world, of course, is you’re the solution as a worker, not the problem. 

So, we want you to be safe and productive. You want to be safe and productive, what you need, what you need for me. And exactly the same principle applies to mental health and an individual. Wellbeing, so, for example, I need more flexibility or I don’t have enough control or I have too much control. There’s a thing called wars vitamin model of mental health at work. Very influential piece, academically decades. So just been rediscovered, really, as we all turn towards it in a more commercial way. Recently, control is a classic up to nine. 

He’s got nine factors. But what he says is you have to have the right level for the right person. So, if you’re the sort of self-employed person who can only really function as self-employed because otherwise you are unemployable, you need a high level of control, give the level of control or somebody like myself who’s self-employed on my own company, give that level of control to a lot of people and they never sleep. 

Right. 

So, it’s about understanding. And of course, when we’re talking COVID, a really good example is a lot of people say, I love working from home. I’ve got children and a lot of people say, I hate working from home. I’ve got children. And of course, that could be the same person on the same morning. 

Right. So, the theme of investing in soft skills for frontline supervision seems like a very important one. And probably an area where HR and the safety teams can work together as well to upscale. And any thoughts on that part? 

Oh, absolutely. And over the years, we’ve done thousands of safety culture surveys. And the one thing that always comes out is the soft skills of your front-line supervisors and managers could be upgraded absolutely every single time. So, another Web Wars vitamin model is into personal contact, of course. And what you find is some people like a little they’re quite solidary. They don’t really need people very much. Some people like a lot. But the one thing is an absolute constant is they want to have the right level of it and they wanted to be good quality. 

So, if you got somebody who isn’t particularly into personally skilled, that’s a problem for everything and always will be, that’s great. 

Thank you. Another theme as well is the element. I know when we talked before the theme of just culture and how does that play into safety, but also the element from a mental health standpoint. 

Just culture. Now you’re talking some deep and serious stuff that goes back millions of years. You know, they do say that there are two factors that seem to distinguish the most successful societies and species, for that matter. Out. One is that they have a learning focus. So, my multimillion-selling books, like Is Cow Dex Mindset to be a psychologically safe organization, and so on is all about trust. And it’s all about learning. And the two things go hand in hand. So, for me, the organizations that are best, they will have hit Diminishing returns with systems, procedures, compliance regulations, rules, training. 

They are pretty much it diminishing returns with that. But then there are two themes. The first one is learning when things go well, why have they gone wrong? What can we do about it? Brilliantly. Covered by a guy called Matthew Said called Black Box thinking if you listeners, I promise you, if you read Black Boxing and you don’t think it’s fantastic, I’ll come over and wash your car if you want to send me whatever you are. And the second one, of course, is trust. There’s a lot of studies that suggest that societies that have higher levels of trust flourish better than societies that have a culture of low trust in the classic example is Italy. 

They studied Italy. And so why is the north of Italy doing so well compared to the south? And the correlation that seemed to be strongest was that they have a culture of non-trust in the south and a culture of trust in the north. So obviously it gets complex again, because the trouble with societies that default the trust. Well, the good thing about societies that default the trust is that you set up more virtuous than vicious circles and you flourish because it’s better to have a false negative than a false positive. 

The downside, of course, is that cults and Con men take advantage of that. So, to quote, I did an article for a magazine the other day on a book came out called how to Think Like a Spy by Britain’s leading spy just retired. And I thought the line in the book that just absolutely resonated with me. He said this same thing, trust. You have to bit. You have to go from a premise of trust that’s best for everybody. And normally it works. But there will be people to try and take advantage of you. 

So just everybody verifies everything. 

Trust everybody verifies everything, especially verify everything, but verify everything interesting. So, on that topic, I think your book coming up fairly soon or Talking Health and Safety, can you give our listeners a bit of a preview of some of the teams that you’ll be exploring within that book? 

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Com. Yeah, sure. The original Talking Safety. It was home to have a world class safety conversation with the subtitle, and the idea was a cost or commitment from a just culture perspective. So, with the mindset and assumption that if something has gone wrong or is about to go wrong, there is a reason for it that makes sense to the person involved and to have that conversation as proactively as possible, not waiting for something to go wrong, and then you default to blame and finger point doing. But to do it proactively so that it’s just a introduce yourself. 

Ask why, curiously, not aggressively. There are other questions based on things like temptation analysis. Is there anything slow and convenient? They’re uncomfortable about doing this job safely because we know for a fact if there is, some people will be tempted to cut corners and then some people will cut corners. It’s just a head coat from then on. And the bottom of how you look famous triangle fills up, and sooner or later somebody gets it. So that was the basic model. And then it costs when you find out if you do need to address the individual, for example, because there is a temptation. 

But you can’t do anything about it because you’re pulling down the factory next year, and the cost of making the changes you need is just prohibitive. Then get into coaching. Get into coaching modes rather than telling somebody you use data, you use illustration and praise rather than criticism, and so on and use all those techniques. And then you say, thank you and you go. And I think the absolute essence of talking health and safety. In the first book we said, introduce yourself, ask people how they are, and then crack on. 

Obviously, when you ask people how they are, especially in Europe, where we’re already stuffing a bit. I’m fine. Thank you. 

I think you get that pretty much everywhere. 

Yeah, I especially in Europe, of course. And so, I think the essence of talking health and safety, as well as going through mental health first aid training. And it signs to look out for talkative ones that have gone quiet, quiet ones that have gone talkative, smart ones that have gone scrape, all that sort of stuff and all those top tips about mental health. It’s just to ask the question at the end of the conversation when you’ve developed some rapport when you’ve had a decent conversation and you’ve worked together a bit just to revisit that simple opening gambit of and how are you only this time properly and mean it as opposed to just, I’m okay expecting an answer. 

This. I’m okay. Thank you. And that really, I think, is the essence of a culture of care. If you listen to people and know who they are, they’re much more likely to torture. I give you a case study if you like. I’ve got a very large client. They managed to switch off a major airport as an engineer, made a mistake, and they wanted a human error project that made that less likely to happen in the future. I was talking to so they can’t fall down the stairs teams or they can’t do this, you know, it so well, I wouldn’t worry about them falling down the stairs. 

You do realize they’re 35 times more likely to throw themselves down the stairs. And if they’ve had a really bad day, they run them up with an axe for half and ever while you’re trying to get into the security secure factory, you’ve got a real problem? 

Sure. And they said, well, any of our workers like that well, certainly will be having a bad day maybe as much as ten. But I just spoke to a guy, for example, who has just got divorced, is living on a friend’s couch, is 50 years old, but his drinking as much as he did when he was a student and is really close to the edge. And the MD said, well, how did you know that? That’s I was chatting to him. And I said, how are you? And he said, all right. 

And I said, oh, I’m not convinced you’re all right. I said, well, why did he talk to you? I suspect I’m the first person who’s ever asked him if you saw it. You want me to talk to somebody. So, I talked to me. So, Eric, the essence of a caring culture, a culture of care, I think, is really just listening. If you asked question, you are right that somebody says, yeah, I’m fine. You good. Great. And you crack on that’s not going to get us very far. 

But if you genuinely listen to the answer and hold their gaze and look at them. And obviously the trick is to genuinely care, not pretend you’re caring, but actually care, they will talk to you nine times, say the ten, they will open up and they will talk to you. And then you can have a grownup adult conversation about the fact that 10% minimum of your workforce I having a bad day and could use somebody to talk to. We can all you somebody to talk to. One of the things that we’ve been doing here with my companies, as I said, taking a genuinely holistic approach to the whole human error piece. 

You know, it doesn’t really matter what causes the human error, but because it will be multifaceted. And one of the things that we’re already familiar with, of course, is fatigue. You know, somebody who is very tired, they’ve been up for 18 hours. They’ve done a split shift or whatever, and they haven’t quite recovered. Now you’ve got the same physiology as somebody is drunk. And, of course, fatigue and mental health, two parts of a pair of gloves. Really, if you’re tired, you’re having a bad day. It’s very difficult to have a good day when you’re really tired. 

Every day is a better day if you’re broken alert. Likewise, if you’re stressed, you don’t sleep very well. The whole thing becomes a vicious circle. So absolutely, incorporating fatigue management. So, a lot of companies will have a fatigue management process because they’re aware of the fact that they don’t want their workers out. They’re drunk in inverted e-commerce. Thank you ever so much. But they might not have anything in that fatigue management that does any sort of monitoring or Proactive work about mental health. But they should the two things that go together, handing both. 

Yeah. I think that’s a really important point. 

People simply do not make mistakes very often because they can’t be bothered all because they’re stupid. Of course, both of those things are true a lot, but the majority of yeah, absolutely. But on the majority of occasions, that’s not true. They’re good people doing their best, and they make mistakes for a variety of intel reasons, often Bureau being stressed and preoccupied by issues about the past or the future. Being tired, they’re often front and center in that stupid accident. An invert ecommerce where somebody just does something daft or doesn’t see something or drops something or presses the wrong button or falls over something or drives into something or reverses into something, et cetera, et cetera. 

It doesn’t sling something properly. All those accidents start with mental health, fatigue rather than human error. As Sydney Decker says, human error is never the end point of any investigation. It has to be the start point. And mental health is often. I don’t mean you’re crazy. You schizoid free bipolar. I mean, you’re just a bit depressed or you’re really very anxious often that is an important causal element of the equation. 

Yeah. And I really appreciate the work that you’re doing in terms of the research in terms of bringing the topic of conversation linking those themes think is incredibly important. So, I really appreciate the work you’re doing and all the consulting that you’re doing with a lot of organizations to bring the topic about and address the broader theme of safety culture. 

It’s a lot of fun, actually, but working in such an important field, it’s not a niche. You can’t just find everybody who admits that they’re struggling, in fact, and that’s about 20% of your workforce, so that’s not going to happen. Doing some mainstream work that really brings good psychology front and center in important field is obviously fantastic for anybody myself. Considers himself a psychologist. Excellent. 

Well, Tim, thank you so much for joining us today and sharing your thoughts. And I’m looking forward to the upcoming books around talking health and safety. 

Oh, thank you, Eric. Thank you so much. 

I have. I’ve really enjoyed myself. 

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ABOUT THE GUEST

Tim Marsh was one of the team leaders of the original UK research into behavioural safety (in construction) in the early 1990s He is considered a world authority on the subject of behavioural safety, safety leadership and organizational culture, was awarded a “President’s Commendation” in 2008 by the International Institute of Risk and Safety Management and was selected to be their first ever ‘Specialist Fellow’ in 2010. He was made visiting Professor at Plymouth University in 2015.

He has given key note talks around the world including the closing key note at the inaugural Campbell Institute ‘International Thought Leaders’ conference (Dallas, USA, 2014 as well as key note talks at major conferences in South Africa, New Zealand, Asia, India and the Middle East. In 2016 he was the key note speaker at the inaugural NEBOSH Alumni event.

Founder of Ryder Marsh Safety he has worked commercially with more than 500 major organizations around the world, including many international oil and gas, utility, chemical, transport, IT and manufacturing organizations as well as the European Space Agency, the BBC, the National Theatre and Sky. Founded Anker & Marsh in 2018 with Jason Anker to focus more closely on wellbeing and mental health issues. His work as an expert witness includes the Cullen Inquiry into the Ladbroke Grove train crash (Definition of Culture; Changing Culture) as well as with many law firms.

He has worked with media such as the BBC (radio work and selecting and fronting a box set of their “disaster” series) and has written and produced many training videos such as “Drive Smarter” and the extensive “Safety Leadership” series with Baker-media and ‘Crash Course’ (a commercial spin off of the Staffordshire Police speed and safe driving awareness course). He features in “There’s Always a Reason” and “Safety Watch”.

He has written dozens of magazine articles, many academic articles and the books “Affective Safety Management”, “Talking Safety”, “Total Safety Culture”, “Safety Savvy”, “A Definitive Guide to Behavioural Safety” and “A Handbook of Organized Wellbeing”.  

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In this episode, Jason Anker discusses the work incident that paralyzed him from the waist down at just 24 years old. Mental health in the workplace is a popular topic of discussion these days, but it’s rarely linked to worker safety. How does mental health affect decision-making at work? What impact can a work accident have on your life and the lives of those around you? What can supervisors do to support workers? Anker tackles these tough questions and shares the inspiring journey of how he overcame the trauma from his life-altering incident.

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Real leaders leave a legacy. They capture the hearts and minds of their teams; their origin story puts the safety and well-being of their people first. Great companies ubiquitously have safe yet productive operations. For those companies, safety is an investment, not a cost for the C-Suite. It’s a real topic of daily focus. This is The Safety Guru with your host Eric Michrowski, a globally recognized Ops and The Safety Guru public speaker and author. Are you ready to leave a safety legacy? Your legacy success story begins now.

Hi and welcome to The Safety Guru. Today I’m incredibly excited to have with me Jason Anker. Jason is an incredible speaker on safety. He’s got an MBA from Buckingham Palace in the UK. Jason, welcome to the show. I’d love for you to start out by sharing a little bit about your story and then we’ll take it from there.

Hi, Eric. Thank you very much for inviting me to speak today. I suppose my story starts on January 3rd, 1993. Hmm. I was just 24 years old, married with two young children. I’m I was working as a roofing contractor on a building site. Right. It was not my job by choice, but it was a time in the 90s in the UK of the recession. So work was hard to come by. So, I’ve been a family man.

You were the cook from January 3rd and October three was the first day back after the Christmas break. I had a particularly very nice Christmas problems with my marriage. It wasn’t a great Christmas back on the road side that it was a really cold day. It was foggy, icy cold. I really didn’t want to be on site box right for the day. I pass off much like every other day, but then around. Half past 2:00 in the afternoon, things changed the way that Russia came in the work.

Mm-hmm. And when he was asked if he could try and get to our job done in just one hour, as little as daylight was fated, Sasha. So, you can imagine being a contractor on site, trying to please the client. We decided that we would attempt to get the job done. After a half hour into the job, I unfortunately fell 10 meters, 10 feet, three meters from untied unspotted ladder. Sorry to hear that.

Yeah, yeah, and Insley realize I can’t feel my legs more than the usual drama at Amherst Hospital by ambulance, initially after an X-ray, they concluded that they couldn’t actually find anything seriously wrong with me and may be suffering from a condition known as spinal shock caused by the fall. Over the next couple hours, a couple of days a week, a few weeks now I get all the sensations. Back then, I was taken for a CT scan just for closure, just to confirm what the doctors suspected.

But fortunately, the news wasn’t great. I was told I suffered severe spinal injuries and I was paralyzed from the waist down. And the most likely scenario was that I’d never walk again. Wow, you’re 24 years old, you know, right? Well, it’s just something you I expected and still these things happen to the people, then it’s not always somebody else. All right. This was actually happening to Mel. I spent four months in rehab, spinal rehabilitation, hospital, learning, the NOVA skills, you did spend the rest of your life in a wheelchair.

Now, when I first went there, I still believe I got there to not walk. But that is not the case now. I was told I’ll be doing the rest of my life. So, you have all the indignities of when banks bite on your leg and a daily routine to go to the toilet. I was 24 years old then. I spent all the hospital were focused, almost your physical rehabilitation that had all the practical skills you need rush off in a wheelchair and very little at the time was focused on mental health.

I was actually cheered by some. I still believe that as soon as I got out of hospital, I would just find a way of coping. Just today, I’ve been out of office before April 25th, 1993. I’ve been on for one day and my then wife, she walked out with two young children. Oh, wow. So, if you can imagine that, yeah, the enormous impact I’m so sure to imagine six competitively of life will go from really happy, you know, fate, 24-year-old to suddenly being told you spent last night in the wheelchair.

You’re totally incontinent. And my wife is actually talking to young children and their traumatic time. But again, looking back, we never spoke about how I was feeling. And if I asked you that roundabout way, are you okay? You always want to put a smile on your face. Yeah, I’m fine. It’s just a natural environment. People have. Yeah, I’m fine. No, no, no one ever asked me that second probing question.

Why don’t seem far. I really, it’s just that asthma sounds okay and let bull, you know, like my life was imploding. Didn’t realize the speed to I was seeing a counselor obviously trying to deal with things uselessly mismatch depressants which showed me that I started to abuse my senses like I was drinking really hard at the time. You know, you hit the debt. I think you can’t get any worse things to get worse. I quite ashamedly got mixed up in taking illegal drugs as well.

It wasn’t. I was trying to get high or it was just trying to forget all the pain. But that downforce resulted in nineteen ninety-five of unintentional overdose. So, which resulted in me being seventeen days machines and dad being advised to turn the machine off. And it was just looking back now I can’t remember any of this. I was in a mom that was live more than two years previously told us to walk over fallout from that and now faced with an impossible decision based like time machine of.

I’m watching this and I. Wow. Look, they may look at, but that’s a No. So, I spent five months in rehabilitation is very simple. The last thing that was very similar to a stroke and so can the hospital again, people thing doesn’t the trauma. How you feel that your life will pick up. And unfortunately, I couldn’t sleep. I was feeling right. And a knock-on effect was Masafumi. I was effective, I was I did not speak about how I was affected, and I suppose my talks in the UK really focused on not the accent and not rehabilitation, but the impact on your life from a decision I made at work one day, this is how your life implodes and I can always play by at that moment.

So now are you still drinking? Was a big problem for me. I’ve been off the weekends trying to blot out the problems. I’ve found a way of coping. You know, I got myself into a state church and came back to me full time. So, I focus. And I wasn’t really thriving in life. Nothing really meant anything to make sure low on battery compensation that finally got resolved at 14 years. So, a lot of people have. Yeah.

And again, a lot of people have accidents. And I strongly believe that compensation is the end of the trauma. And maybe it was I still had money in the bank and yeah, I was just really unhappy. I was on the cycle of displaying material things, cars, holidays, things that I just trying to get myself feel better. At the end of the day, when I was in the mall, when I opened my eyes every morning, the very first thing I see is the wheelchair.

I saw my dad. And go back to that moment 28 years ago, when I was still about the opportunity to speak up and it was by chance actually a chance meeting one time when I was actually drunk to party Christmas 2008 and somebody, I just approached me and asked me why I was in a wheelchair. You know, it’s not he’s not talking at a party right now, it’s important what we did was an accident and I suggest that work.

I felt that I was 24 years old and we arranged a meeting because I thought it was really not so much interested in what obviously is important to share to people. What you know is that this is what if you want if you really want to impact people and influence people to make choices on site or report on, say, facts or, you know, speak about anything unsafe on site, talk about what you’ve lost in your life, talk about the impact on your life.

You know, not be able to kick a football softball, you might say. Well, Mison, right? Yeah. I’ve got quite good to speak in its national defense as we got here. And yeah, little things like little adults try to bike. Right. Always little moments that, you know, especially as a man, as a man, because all the little moments, these things that you always remember, you never first kick the football.

The first year takes time. Lots of stabilizers off of a bicycle. You know, I sat and watched my dad let my daughter and my son have to ride a bike. And those moments all the more people. But, well, I told you guys that, you know, these 28 years since my accident and those moments. Don’t go away. So, my daughter Abby is now 31 years ago, gave birth my first grandchild. Hmm. Yeah, I have the back my grandkids on my shoulders.

Man is a little thing. And my second grandchild has just been born last week, so I got two granddaughters. So, congratulations, it is gone. And we’ll talk about in a good place because I live in less than two or three years. So now my accent, the devastating impact on my life, my family’s life and my mom and dad are by again, not my ex on a wheelchair more while I am through Avers for me in a wheelchair that, you know, mom still sees a counselor.

She still takes antidepressants. That’s it. If you talk about, I’ll push my wheelchair because you know, these emotions and so, so strong and so deep because of watching. Now, my accident happened to me and I’ve always thought that the only person I really blame is myself. You know, I was really let down by my ex and fundamentally, I made a critical error and made the journey for me. It’s been understanding why I made that choice that day at work.

Yes, I think the jury Brown since I joined partnership for 10, it’s going to cost Tidmarsh plus Tidmarsh since our joint recovery to return and new business function, not just on the safety side of an accident, but looking for from a mental health and mental wellbeing as well. Which is being absolutely crucial, so, you know, my actions actually took so much away from me. I’ve been speaking now for 12 years now and literally changed my life.

Now, I’ve traveled around the world up into amazing places since the amazing projects and always along the lines of how can we get people to say, oh, how can we safely on site always look at my accident as a. What could you say? Don’t be like me story, which are very is a lot of speakers, I’m quite friends get lost in America now because, you know, I’m a small network of speakers and we tend to be like many stories that can have the most impact.

And since I’ve changed the slant of my story a little bit, well, I do still speak about my accent. Sure. That’s the new element of looking at it from a different viewpoint, especially since I’ve been speaking out this last 18 months. I mean, the feedback we’re getting from the clients and asking public feedback we’re getting from the workers themselves. Wow. I’ve never, ever made the connection between how someone is feeling and what they did. What work.

So, yes, I think that’s an incredibly important topic, and I think that’s where we originally started as some of our conversations. Tell me more about how you’re feeling that day. You alluded to it before, but also what were some of the signs, the actions that could have prevented it even prior to that day observance?

You know, it’s such a big part in my mind. The story was told for the last 12 years has always started on January 3rd, 1993, that my ex and the date, if I would definitely time my life been totally different. If I’m allowed to take you back to the beginning of not to. And so, if you magic from school, I was very open, so my dream job as a songwriter from the school, that’s what I did.

It was the best job out of my life. You know, I work every day with a smile on my face. That’s never a day off. If it was, I was still trying to get into work, but not time to be in a recession in the U.K., I’d actually be made redundant. So being a family man, find some more work. Now, at the time, I have a friend who used to work on the power stations, on the soldiers, where they repair power stations during the summer.

And what I said before, when the demand is back and it’s fantastic. At the time, I was probably than five times more money per week as a job as a songwriter. And yet. I hated it, you know, it was not the work for me, I was away from home seven days a week and that put pressure, more pressure on the marriage, because my wife, my wife at the time was pregnant with my second child.

So, I was away from home. So, what do Monday when they’re away from home, they work hard and they spend evenings in the pub like 28 years ago that sold the culture. So, it’s affecting my fitness for a few pounds because I wasn’t playing football or soccer, as you say, I was in training set. My fitness levels have dropped and we got finished the season of House Sessions. And that’s why I had to work on the building site.

And again, it wasn’t the work for me wasn’t the important. I wanted to work inside my mind morale. The job was pretty. Hey, I hated going to turn up all the downbeat mood and I think it’s an accident. I’ll take it. The night before my accident, I was actually partying in attendance with my supervisor. I know I can I can I can remember him saying to me earlier, I mean, come on now, we must get off.

You know, we got work next time and. I will say because of my mental the way I was in my mental capacity and I was feeling the time, no, no, I won’t stop until a couple more drinks. Now, if I’m being honest, I can’t I can’t remember going on that night. I can I can better not be picked up the next day. Still drunk the night before. People say, did your health and wellbeing influence your safe choice?

I say definitely 100 percent that my mind you know, I didn’t want to be that I’m going to the next day, you know, people say, what can you remember from your accent? Which I’ll be totally honest about my accent or my ex on my daddy has been in my mind, it’s been patched together from what other people have told me. Right. My clear amendment, the only way I can really remember that day was. They installed on the bottom of the ladder when it was on, it wasn’t reported that said that safety management, we always talk about the five second go instinct that something’s not right and we just expect people then just stop and did the correct thing.

Well, I at the moment, you know, I stopped at the bottom of the ladder. I thought, this is unsafe and I still do it for the last or the first. So, eight, nine years, my presentations and I used to always try and encourage people to speak about safety, always in the back of my mind, just thinking myself. But you did stop you. You’re asking people to tie in five seconds. But actually, you actually did that.

You actually realize what you do if you stop, you know, the correct things that we say that we’re going to do. And then I know what I meant. There was some pressure on now the continuation of work, but I really don’t think that was in the forefront of my mind that time. And I can’t get it down to two. One thing that convinced me to take the gamble, you know, because I know people say it’s always up to somebody else, nine thousand, nine hundred and ten thousand jobs to get away, do it.

So, we all you know, that mentality sometimes drives people to do to do the show because the things that happened to them. But in my mind, I knew what I was doing was unsafe. And I’ve got down to that. I felt so low at the time. I just wanted to go home. So, you know, me to have coined the phrase come. But I saw them two or three months. Obviously, we push our ideas backwards and forwards all the time.

And that Tim’s always told me that if you could imagine, I would be using a blue pipe. There might have been nice pipe with different sections that you might, you know, on a time and further three hours that done. The more things are on your mind, outside work, you can check. I could cook judgment. And I said, that’s all well and good. I can understand that I was distracted to understand all the things on my mind.

I didn’t climb the ladder thinking it was safe. I’d actually, you know, I can’t use that as an excuse because I don’t do that. I was fully aware of what I was doing. So, yes, I was distracted with things on my mind. I wasn’t sleeping on, eating properly, drinking too much. All these things type poor decision. But fundamentally, I still I have that moment that this is not safe.

So, you know, we basically coined the phrase the moment where, you know, it’s unsafe. And, you know, I just think self oh, I just got the job done and uncensored and using this phrase and some of the presentations, the response to that comment, it’s been profound. You know, people just not work for the management as well, because obviously they play a role in decisions. And if they’re in that moment, sat in the office where they should visit, saw that day and they Tuesday where were to stay in the office because they’re having a bad time outside of work and they bought the old fine, get the job done.

I’m not nice to the supervisor who may himself be on some issues outside work. So, by the time he realized the instructions to the workforce, what instructions is even after the work force? I mean, if you don’t give them some of the work, force them to stay home as well, because, you know, there could be a fatality. There could be problems with the family because these are not issues. You know, the pat down, if you live by yourself and it actually passed away, it was all you’ve got when you got home at night.

Surely that could change the way you could work in the morning. I know they stay. We talk about this is really no link in how well we can affect safety for sure. You know, people say to me there’s not enough factual evidence of this. Well, I use my story. I say, well, look at my story, look at my actions, all the things that went wrong in mathematics and my mindset on that day, you know, contrary to my action. 

Ninety-five, I say 100 percent. My choice that day was made on how I was feeling. Sure. You know. Could call a response, my supervisor, change the way I feel, so it’s always about having time off. I think that the fear sometimes when we start linking safety and well-being, that there be some kind of huge cost element to this. Maybe someone just picked up on the guy in my accent, Jason, a bit different.

Maybe that conversation will, you know, take my mind a little bit and maybe so when we go back to be surprisingly good, that work is good for you. And I strongly believe, you know, going to work in an ice culture when you come to where they should feel valued. You’re part of a team. Yeah, my accent looking back. And it costs the guy I was working for the customers. This is only a small contractor.

His business didn’t survive, so he lost his business and all the guys who work for the company or lost jobs. Right. It was a recession. So obviously it wasn’t easy to come by. So, it was a knock off that we can look at the supervisor himself. He was a guy there was actually footing a of without my accent. And he didn’t blame himself. My father, by the way, because they actually thought I was down.

So, when I came down on the final time, the supervisor was actually fixing the ladder as far as I at the bottom of the hill, why do I think I was down? And that’s why I called back a lot. But now you think to yourself, that attracts people yourself from my accent. Did you blame to USA? It wasn’t for the obvious thing of what can I do for a ladder? He actually blamed for allowing me on LA.

Right. He was a guy picked up in the morning at the party before he picked up in the mall and he saw what state I was in a back seat on the way to work. So, he’s guilty of my accent was not from walking away from Alabama. It was actually. Allow me on site that you’re taking site on site. Allow me to wear that day. That’s a massive impact on his life. He moved away customers marriage. He moved away.

So, you know, this just shows the ripple effect of accident. It’s not just it’s not just in your partner’s immediate family. It’s how I saw his life change actions actually in the parliament. Those rules go out now and extend these problems that people don’t talk about.

This episode of The Safety Guru podcast is brought to you by Propulo Consulting, the leading safety and Safety Culture Advisory firm, whether you are looking to assess your safety culture, develop strategies to level off your safety performance, introduce human performance capabilities, free, energize your BBS program, enhance supervisory safety capabilities, or introduce unique safety, leadership training and talent solutions. Propulo has you covered to visit us at propulo.com.

So, I think you bring up some very interesting points there in terms of the year prior, the role of the supervisor, what are some of the things that a supervisor can do or could have noticed? Right. Because I remember somebody sharing a story where in one day that the supervisor was walking on the shop floor, this was a manufacturing environment. And then the supervisor was talking to somebody and saying, how are you doing? What’s happening? And the person shared that they had just been evicted from the home that night.

So, they hadn’t slept properly and immediately said, well, you shouldn’t be doing this job. Pull the person off, not without pay, obviously with pay, because they’re not trying to aggravate the problems, but recognizing that person didn’t have the focus and the attention needed to take on a very, very dangerous job. So, tell me a little bit about what would you reflect on the role that the supervisor has and maybe what are some of the cues that a supervisor or a leader should be looking for?

Yeah, absolutely. Just I that the supervisor actually came forward and spoke about his concerns. That was. It was said that it was a death by accident and all his knowledge of what was going wrong. So, yeah, as a supervisor, it’s like communication. How can you potentially spot people acting differently if you don’t speak, if you have a supervisor intent on your team of people? So, you spot people acting differently. And I think you hit the nail on the head as well.

You know, it’s all well and good asking Sony for OK, because we all know, OK, well, what country we live in us, which OK, I’m fine with which they fall back to the usual question. How are you the worst possible if you ask why, why are you doing. We just didn’t instinctively reply. Yeah, I’m fine. But yeah, as you mentioned on your example, I will say exactly the same conversation the supervisor had with work because he went to approach it from a different angle, maybe taking to one side and just ask him again.

You seem so different, are you? I take some of the prodding questions in our experience first and then we’ll open about the problems. And as you say, it could be something traumatic. It could be a death to the partner or something more and more like says something about that person’s children in a day. And we all know when things like our mind is hot, it’s hard to get it off. I mean, I use a very quick so I’ve got something to show the importance of when we start this journey. And a couple of years ago, presenting for a regional airline and a guy come to speak to us at the end of the presentation, I’ll always remember it was a nighttime presentation for the engineers who actually serviced the planes. The very next day will be fine all-around Europe with passengers on it initially told me stories, but in a wheelchair, I honestly thought that you want to talk about the similarities of being in a wheelchair, but he stopped me. Now, it’s not like I said, my brother’s 500 miles away and approaching.

My parents passed away a couple of weeks ago and since the funeral, I’m not cut for my brother was in the wheelchair. So, I feel really concerned. And the presentations led me to believe that family is the most important thing. So tomorrow I’m not going to I can’t drive 200 miles and find out what’s on brother. So, he told me stories to give you some advice. Can you tell me the exact story that you’ve told me that just not time for you Chicago speech?

So, he did and it made contact over the weekend. I took your advice in my marriage. I told one story about my brother and he said that that is absolutely OK. He says, please, please, please take day off tomorrow. In fact, now you’ve told me I’m not able to rearrange shake patterns and get some bullshit tomorrow. So tomorrow it’s not just you not turned up. I’ve got some in place. So that’s a big relief for me.

But I’m not sure he said, in fact, we’re OK. It’s weather wise. See what you told me? You want to go home. I think this to me is a bit more friendly. Right? He said he said, no, I think I’m fine. I’ve offended all my issues. I think I’m fighting a shift. And the bet for me was the conversation was he then said that for the previous three evenings he got so much on his mind he remembered being at work.

Now, this guy was servicing planes flying across Europe and for three days because his mind was not on the job. He remembered being at work three days. And to me, that was a lightbulb moment. Thank you. We have to push this because. Yeah. So, the upshot was he spoke what I was feeling he was able to come to chef that night. So, you know, we’re not going to fight wars and really positive where. Well, I tell you what, I really want to get into a conversation about what may or may not happen to work.

Know I was going through his mind, you know, how many times you think about the consequences of, you know, how we’ve been working so familiar. That was the greatest connection I can say, where people say we need evidence that while the insight is collective. Well, how many do we do? We really need to go along the lines of there where we’ve been to safety for so long. Let’s wait for Madrak some time and then we work backwards.

It never happens again. Wouldn’t it be great to stop things happening in the first place? Right. You, our people are feeling is the only indicator to a society because you have that when you fight with your supervisor, because you’re in a bad mood. And I know change your supervisor or people at work start to pull out the little bit soft and withdrawn at work and work. That becomes a place where you want to control the morning, say all things about presentism, absenteeism, let’s say a production.

It actually engages work so that it’s going to give password more productive discretionary effort where you put their actual effort. And that’s where the workers will suffer and they might turn up every day. You might talk every day and you might always work out how much quality work is actually given. Exactly. So, yeah. So, you know, the cost of this is, you know, what is the cost? And the cost is normally the first on it.

It’s hard. Oxybenzone and then Macel a problem with production. Let me I find this work hole is in hindsight until we always find out the problem. The worker is suffering. But I need that vaccine. So, we have to come into a place where this is high on the agenda because, yeah, people who I’m speaking to and when we speak on the subject, only last week were small groups of worked in front of us and outside sent them introspect about how this feeling.

I would much prefer to do as well, obviously a bit more concerned about speaking up. Some of the guys were saying them among some problems outside work. And I’m bringing all into what I think to me. What more can we do to highlight that? Because there’s still some kickback and, you know, wife, well, they’re being tied in safety. I thought, well, we really, really have to start connecting the dots.

Exactly. I’m not sure exactly. I know when you speak to Ten Fuge podcast, they’ll give you the scientific reason why we need to do what we do. It’s unfortunate had my accident, but in a way, I can’t change that, you know, but I’m not in Manhattan to mix. I was always thinking what I saw, but I still want to walk. But I need a wheelchair. That’s give me a bit of a purpose in life. 

And if my purpose is that we, can we can show this connection between safety, well, it’s new for me to realize what I did. It was always about safety accidents, safety violations. I made that time. Well, for me, when I just look at it like I’m not going to I prefer to die. So, things I know we talk about. But I think for even the few of us, you can easily see the connection to mine.

Well, when I’m at that, my accident, it wasn’t nothing major. It was marriage problems, debt problems, and just the one little problem that some people can have. Yes, I’m starting to get quite difficult in most parts, Maksym, you know, all the problems, although I’m sure someone else was on my mind, but that caused me to not follow through. When I realized something wasn’t safe inside, I could cry out inside a million-dollar question.

I resigned. But I strongly believe that if my mindset had been a lot better place that I am, that I would have spoken of. This may well come out of exhaustion because I was such a bad place. Items on top of me. It was BBS last job. I get the job done. You can come home right now. You know, even some of the guys are on podcast. I agree with all your experience. How many times heard that story on?

It was all over the day; it was the most real as we all stopped for a broken violation. Do we ever, ever look for a broken person?

And I think this is the part that’s very powerful in terms of your stories really linking the importance of looking at well-being and how that impacts in a workforce safety outcome. Because if you’re focus isn’t on the task, you’re bound to accept greater risk, to maybe not focus on something that’s not quite right. But you’ve also touched on the importance of active care, essentially, really, in terms of the leader who understands, who knows their team can spot the difference.

They can ask that question. They’re going beyond the are you OK? Going a little bit deeper, maybe connecting that something’s not quite right today. But the last piece I want to touch on with you is also the element of psychological safety, which I think is another element that that shows up in your story, but also a story, an element that’s incredibly important in terms of the role of the supervisor and the leader to impact a great safe work environment so that people can feel comfortable speaking up, stopping work, escalating issues and having the right dialog.

And any thoughts on that theme?

Well, I think you saw it there and really, I think it is true that we have to, first of all, recognize that psychological safety exists. And I feel like this woman is a very reluctant to listen to their remit. They believe it’s not part of that we’re safety professionals, that this is a different area. Let’s get the experts on this and yeah, with you, with the experts. But for me, psychic safety is the next big bet, because for me, you know, when you analyze my accident, I respect the safety risk.

You mentioned the risk appetite. You know, I think, you know, the more problems you outside of where your risk appetite goes up, it’s not because, I mean, some people enjoy rationally what people do based on people. You skydive, but they all have extremes. This is the average guy going to work, you know, and I think sometimes that you can in a very good place. And the problem comes up for my engineer who like to solve problems.

So, the risk is just that you control accident. But when you look at that, the average worker, I think the appetite for risk is Ops and then they enjoy doing it. Take place. Listen, the something if you’re tired, it come to your own problems. Your mental health problems are, you know, there’s physical fatigue, management fatigue. And when you’ve got to because you’re tired and you risk appetite, actually cancel because you think I haven’t got the time to properly.

So, I’m just gone then because you’re tired and you take these risks, you then more like take the calculated risk. You might be taking these very highly calculated because you’re in such a bad place. I think for me, that’s why I cycle site safety and psychological safety. Start looking at the work and what I can do because, you know, being a nice manager and my supervisor can change how people are feeling. If I couldn’t work in a really bad makes, I had a bad day.

The first couple of conversation with my supervisor, my manager can sign up for the rest of the time and I couldn’t work. And that supervisor, you spot some just a little bit differently. I took off the day. Jason, you. Yeah. Inspired not so. Let’s go for a little chat. My timeline problems by how I’m feeling and what’s going on in the marriage. The most sort of soldier. I’ll probably feel a lot better in that moment.

And so, for me, that that is we’ve got to get across that. It is a public safety now. And the resistance we put out there, I question what is the safety world of frightened of, you know, an. A lot of conversation we don’t like get involved in this kind of stuff. Sure, I question the question is really why not? As we move, move, move, move forward to more reports come out, the more experts like turn the lie, start looking at site safety on the Internet, you know, about their work results when you come home in a bad mood, which results and that you don’t pay the kids and you probably download all of something of a couple of beers and you know why you have a bad week and then go to the sports with children.

So, then you have a bad weekend and Monday morning you’re back at work and with a mugshot on the weekend of November. So, for me, that progression of, you know, feeling down about work and your home life, the connection between the two sides, it’s a huge new area. And just because people don’t understand it doesn’t mean we can’t look at it as a huge impact on safety. Exactly.

Absolutely. And I think your story illustrates that and illustrates the importance. And as you alluded to, we’re going to have Professor Tim Tebow as well share his story and his research on this in a future episode. But, Jason, really appreciate the time you took to share some of your story and the insights around the importance of linking well-being in culture, the importance of active care, the importance of psychological safety and all of this. I think it’s a very powerful story.

If somebody wants to get in touch with you, have you spoken to them, share some insights around what’s the best way to do that?

Just through website, so much promotion across all what we take from inspirational speaking way through to coach change the expertise of Tim Miller, Global Recognized Practitioner wanting to say.

Excellent. Well, Jason, thank you very much for sharing your story, for inspiring organizations and individuals to make safety part of every day. Thank you.

Thank you so much for the invite.

Thank you for listening to The Safety Guru on C-Suite radio. Leave a legacy, distinguish yourself from the pack, grow your success, capture the hearts and minds of your team’s. Fuel your future. Come back in two weeks for the next episode or listen to our sister show with the Ops Eric Michrowski.

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ABOUT THE GUEST

After a tragic workplace fall 28 years ago left Jason confined to a wheelchair without the use of his legs, he identified as a survivor of his accident, focusing on physical recovery and turning to a combination of alcohol and drugs to cope. He was overwhelmed by self-blame and shame and too proud to say that he needed help as he believed he was helping those around him by shielding them from his true inner struggles. Today, he speaks openly and honestly about his mental health crisis and no longer hides his feelings, preferring instead to spend his time living in the present and thriving.

Connect with Jason at www.p2bs.org and www.ankerandmarsh.com

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Mental health is a safety issue, yet its importance in the workplace is often minimized. Dr. Keita Franklin is a leading expert in workplace mental health and suicide prevention. This week, she discusses the mental health challenges faced by workers everywhere, relating it to her experience working with active duty armed forces. Take a listen to learn about useful practices that people at all levels of an organization, from the CEO to front-line supervisors and workers, can use to shift organizational culture and lessen the stigma surrounding seeking help.

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Real leaders leave a legacy. They capture the hearts and minds of their teams; their origin story puts the safety and well-being of their people first. Great companies ubiquitously have safe, yet productive operations. For those companies, safety is an investment, not a cost for the C-Suite. It’s a real topic of daily focus. This is The Safety Guru with your host Eric Michrowski, a globally recognized Ops and The Safety Guru public speaker and author. Are you ready to leave a safety legacy? Your legacy success story begins now.

Hi and welcome to The Safety Guru for today. I’m very excited to have with me Dr. Keita Franklin, as he is a subject matter expert in workplace wellness and suicide prevention, also the chief clinical officer for Government Services. Welcome to the show.

Thank you so much.

So, I’d love to start out maybe if you could share a little bit more about your background and your passion for the work that you do around workplace wellness and also suicide prevention.

Sure, again, thank you so much for having me. I am a clinical social worker by training, and I spent a good part of my career working with active-duty military and veterans in the area of mental health and suicide prevention, particularly during the, you know, the entire ramp up for the war effort. So, it provided a great learning opportunity for things related to wellness and resilience and just really focusing on trauma and suicide prevention. And so, let’s talk a bit about how you can keep people well in the workplace. So, if you could shift to ideas, some insights into work in this space.

Yes. You know, for years, I think that we focus on mental health as a sort of we in the field as sort of a hospital-based issue. And the idea was that when people were struggling with mental health, they know, they go into a hospital setting and they get care or they get cured or something like that. And really, you know, fast-Forward, many decades, what we’ve learned is that mental health is really the same as physical health. And we have to focus on prevention. And one of the ways that you get after prevention is really outside of the hospital system. In many ways. You focus with people were what I like to say, where they work, live and thrive, really, you know, focusing on the workplaces is, I think, an intuitive place to begin because people spend so many hours in a week actually engaged at work. So, it provides a perfect forum for recognizing signs of distress and others and really providing a nice opportunity for people to get help or for people to support each other through difficult times.

So, what are some of the tactics that workplace that a more progressive workplace wants to address well-being and a broader sense, what are some of the tactics that they can leverage to make a difference?

It’s definitely a multiple, multilayered issue. And there are things that like leaders at the very top Hindoo, like CEOs, can sort of set the culture for it being OK if you’re not OK and that this is a place to support each other. They can issue policies. We can have organizations that will even have like a mental health day, CEOs that push out their own workplace balance or that let people know, look, I’m taking a day off.

It’s OK for you to take a day off. It’s OK for you to focus on your career, focusing on yourself matters. And then, you know, there are a series of things that front line supervisors can do. Definitely in the field. We advocate that front line supervisors get training and recognize signs of distress, that they know how to engage. If an employee is struggling, they know what it looks like and then they know how to help people get actual care if needed, know. And then there are also things that we recognize individuals do for their own well-being. Individuals, equally so, should know their limits, should try to continue to challenge themselves and be engaged in meaningful work, but at the same time, not overdo it, not take on more than they can handle and recognize their own limits as well.

So, I think that’s a very helpful, helpful tips as well in terms of setting the record for different culture. We’ve all read and I’m aware that covid-19 had a very sizable impact in terms of mental health and wellbeing from many different facets for both people that continue working in person and those who move to working remotely. What are some of the lessons that we can learn from what happened, some of the learnings that can help us create better workplaces as people start returning back to workplaces and to something that seems more normal?

It’s such a good question, right? Because after 12 months or more, really, I guess of covid where the workplace drastically changed. We did. We absolutely did. We learned a lot. And, you know, one of the things in the field in mental health that we saw was just great increases to call centers. So, we had, for example, people we had objects and people calling out to for help from the distress line. We had people calling in, increased people calling in for domestic violence hotlines. And so, we know that, you know, covid-19 definitely impacted people’s mental health. I mean, we also saw during Kofod, you know, just great periods, especially early on, of isolation, of loneliness, which is, you know, on the surface might not seem like a big thing on your home. You’re alone. Maybe you feel a little lonely. But, you know, across the board, one of the things we in the literature is just how detrimental loneliness and isolation can be to people.

There’s just there’s this one study, that loneliness being the same, having the same consequences to your health as. Smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and so now people getting back into the workforce. I mean, I just say that we’ve got to focus on peer support, like people helping people. And one of the biggest sorts of we call it protective factors are buffers to mental health is social support. And just the impact of having someone else you can lean on and someone that can recognize if you’re struggling and can help you get into care is critically important.

And the other thing I would tell you is that, you know, when you look at the just the prevalence rates of people, they were impacted by covid either individuals themselves that struggled with their own health care or people that took care of others like parents and grandparents and struggled with it kind of one step removed, so to speak. They’re still greatly impacted. And so, you know, now that these people are returning to work, we really were getting a group of people back in the workplace that have been through quite a bit of grief and in some cases lost.

I’m not recommending that workplace sort of turns into this many clinical mental health environments for say. But I am saying that we should focus on employee wellness with an extra level of energy post covid for sure.

All right. It sounds like a very timely message that a lot of workplaces think about how they come back to more normal work environment. But we can’t forget what happened over the last 12 months. So, I think your message here is incredibly important. What are some of the things beyond kind of what you’ve talked about from a peer support, social support? What are some of the things that leadership really put into reopening plans to make sure that the right support comes in and people acknowledge what’s happened?

I mean, I definitely think it will be like a new normal for people coming back, like it won’t go back to the way that it was before covid. But one of the things that I think leaders should keep in mind is just classic work that has been done in the field of workplace wellness. I think even long before covid. And it was just this idea of getting people involved in meaningful work and really focusing them on the mission. It can be an incredible boost or an incredible protective factor.

You know, there are all these studies in the field to talk about how people are willing to accept a pay cut or people are willing to, particularly millennials. People are willing to pay is not the driving factor. When you’re talking about employee satisfaction and workplace wellness, it’s really this idea of people finding meaning in their careers and feeling a part of a mission. And sometimes that mission can be bigger than themselves, like this idea that they know where they fit in and the mission and they feel like they belong.

You know, they we call it in the field like belongingness. It’s a big protective factor, like I belong in this group. I belong on this team. I know my role on this team. And when I do, my role is critically important for the mission of this organization. And I know that it results in this great thing is that carries the most meaning of anything at all when it comes to employee engagement and the workplace.

Well, I love that message and it’s not an incredibly hard thing to do, but it does require a lot of effort because even pre covid it was known this element of really getting people connected to meaningful work. And it wasn’t always consistently happening. But definitely, as this happens, people come back to the workplaces. I think it’s definitely something to consider as we transition to another topic you talked a lot about is suicide prevention in the workplace, and particularly when we think from it, from a safety context, it’s not a topic that’s getting a lot of as much attention as it should.

What are some of the elements that people should consider to have the right impact around reducing the risk of suicide and enabling their teams and their culture to have the right effect?

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You’re right. It’s such a good question too, because we should talk about it more. I mean, suicide is the leading cause of death in the nation. And so, it’s actually the second leading cause of death for people ages 18 to twenty-four. So, companies and organizations that have large numbers of young people, eighteen to twenty-four. And this is definitely a serious issue. And not only sort of the prevalence and how it sort of ranks and factions in terms of how it impacts our mortality as a nation.

I also offer that, you know, when one suicide happens in a unit or in a workplace or something, the literature which tells it one hundred and thirty-five people are exposed. And that’s not only like mothers and brothers and sisters, but colleagues and coworkers and it can really impact the workplace just as any other safety issue. You know, I, at one point, did quite a bit of work with the Marine Corps in the area of behavioral health. And as you can well imagine, there was a focus on all things related to safety, particularly military mishaps and airplane mishaps and things like that, and how that these safety issues would impact a military unit. And, you know, suicide was right in the mix. Not this idea of preventing suicides. And part of what makes it so complicated for companies is, is that there’s really not one reason. So, it’s not like somebody doesn’t die by suicide because they’re depressed alone or because they’ve felt shunned or they’re having some sort of individual struggle.

It’s very complex. I mean, we say in the field that people who die by suicide are often struggling with twenty to twenty-five different factors all at once the different risks. And they don’t have buffers against those risks. And so that’s part of the equation. And then also, in some cases, there is this element of impulsivity that can happen with suicide where someone is struggling and they just make this impulsive decision to end their life. And so, the workplace, again, 20 people spend 40 hours a week, sometimes more around one another who might be able to record.

For example, if someone were struggling with a relationship issue, if they were struggling with financial issues, legal struggles as a big I think a big risk factor as well, if people were struggling with substance abuse and mental health issues. And so, I think within the context of all of those struggles, if we were to create a workplace where people were actually encouraged to help each other and there was a message from the top again that says it’s OK if you’re not OK, you’re still on this team, you’re still valued.

I still want to want you in our group. And we’re going to be here for you and help you with these ups and downs of life in this thing. I think where companies struggle sometimes is they’ll think that this is like a one and done kind of environment, like, OK, I’ve trained everybody. We had a training on mental health and in training alone won’t solve it. It’s part of a bigger big has to be part of a bigger comprehensive plan where training is but one element with many other elements sort of bundled together like, you know, an awareness campaign coupled with improving access to care, improving access to mental health care, equally so, making sure that people that is OK, people don’t feel shunned if they take a day off or if they have to go to their therapy once a week or something like that.

So, it’s really a bundled set of practices that together will help us keep people well and not at risk for suicide.

That’s a very important theme. If I was talking to certain professions as well that are more that have a greater risk and often professions where there isn’t as much invested in a lot of organizations around the right conversations.

No, I appreciate you for bringing that up, because definitely we should talk about first responders, police officers, law enforcement people that are on the front lines of covid, I think are at increased risk after having, you know, over a year of being exposed to trauma literally. We in the field are particularly concerned right now about the health care profession. And what does it mean for nurses, for example, who have been experiencing quite a bit of grief and loss?

I think about this my own self. I have a daughter who has just finished her first year in the nursing profession and she’s been providing care in an ICU for her first year in the profession and just sort of making sure that all of these new young nurses who have not really been exposed to the level of death that you might think somebody might be exposed to in the course of their whole career have been exposed to it. And just in just one year, because you’re also in a profession where most people choose to join it, to help others to make a difference in other people’s lives.

So, they’re not expecting to have huge amounts of in a short period of time in many cases. I had a guest who was on the show earlier. I was talking about even how many of these issues were had had enough but didn’t have enough resourcing. So, all things that were contributing to added stress, fatigue, added pressures.

Yes, absolutely, I mean, I don’t they come into the field to help, and then when they feel helpless, that can definitely add an additional layer of stress and then couple that with no time during the workday to really debrief or to check in with colleagues and be part of a broader support system because they’re just meeting that demand that’s in front of them on a 24/7 kind of environment. It can be a recipe for, you know, distress if we’re not careful making sure we put in the right protective factors and the right support around them as a safety net so that we keep them well.

And I think that is a very important point. So, we’ve talked about some of the elements that are needed from a workplace standpoint. It requires a lot more than an AP program and a comprehensive view of it. What are some of the things that a leader can do if they see some concerning signs with somebody that’s perhaps a loved one, somebody who’s close to them or a colleague in the workplace?

This is also such a good question, because I think sometimes people think that it’s very complex and that they’re just not sure what to say if they see somebody struggling. And I just offer that is that it’s not that it’s often just a very basic conversation. And I think when people are struggling, what they want most is for someone to reach out to them and say hello. And they want someone to be there for them and they want someone to say, you know, how are you?

And I often will talk with frontline supervisors about just sharing what they see and then sharing how they feel about what they see. And so, this idea of, you know, in a careful way, certainly having good relationships with people ahead of time helps. But just like, you know, I see that you may you know, that you seem run down or I see that you’re tired or you know, I see some small things in you and I want to check in.

Are you OK? And I want you to know that I’m ready for you and that it’s OK if you want to talk about it and it’s OK if you don’t. But I do worry about you and I want you to know that you’re an important part of this team and we want to make sure you’re well. So just like break the ice and have that initial conversation, you will be surprised with what people share when you ask them how they’re doing.

And you really mean the question. And like, right away, I mean, what we don’t want to happen is for people to just say, oh, I’m fine, thanks. We really want people to start to unpack and to know that it is a safe place and that you as a supervisor or a leader are approachable and that your organization is a good place to share what’s going on and to get help. Like you won’t be in trouble. You wouldn’t be there’s no punitive action if you’re not well from a mental health base like you would, there would be no punitive action if you broke your wrist on the job site.

We would help you and we would want you back. And there’s no punitive person. And equally so if you’re struggling with depression or anxiety or panic or anything like that, and this is what you’re proposing is very simple to do, is somebody to there, but just really create a forum where people can open up, which is such an important topic. Thank you. Thank you very much for all the work that you’re doing in terms of bringing awareness around workplace wellness, but also in suicide prevention.

What are some of the resources that a leader that’s looking to make a difference? The record particularly is returning from Bouvard and you can invest in creating the right environment, the right culture for the mental health and wellbeing standpoint. What are some of the resources that that are available that they should consult?

I mean, I definitely think people should have make sure that everybody in their workplace has access to the lifeline. And we can push that number out through your podcast. And this is really like it’s a crisis support lifeline for the nation. And so, it’s a one-stop shop where folks can dial in and they get right dispatched to their local area and they then have a host of resources. But it is a crisis line and I offer that we should not wait until people are in extreme and dire crisis before we reach out and get help.

And I know you mentioned a plan. Most companies have access to any capability, and that’s another resource. But again, it’s never just one single resource that house we should have. I’ve seen organizations that will have, like every small unit, every small workgroup or whatever, could have a mental health ambassador or somebody that’s trained in the skills of recognizing people in distress and that are sort of the conduit to making sure that they get the help they need equally.

So, organizations that have mentorship programs where they match people to not only help with the workplace but also how to balance all of the demands of work in the context of the broader life. So, these are just a few of the examples that I think we could people could stay tuned to in order to try to help improve workplace wellness overall.

Excellent. So, I really appreciate you. Taking the time to you, come on the show, share a little bit of some of your insights around workplace wellness and suicide prevention, but broadly speaking, really the effort that you’re putting awareness around such important topics.

Terrific. Thank you so much. And I appreciate you talking about this, particularly in the context of safety, because it is a safety issue. So, thank you for your leadership on this issue as well.

Excellent. Thank you so much. Have a wonderful day!

Thank you for listening to The Safety Guru on C-Suite radio. Leave a legacy, distinguish yourself from the pack, grow your success, capture the hearts and minds of your team’s. Fuel your future. Come back in two weeks for the next episode or listen to our sister show with the Ops guru Eric Michrowski.

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ABOUT THE GUEST

Dr. Keita Franklin serves as the Chief Clinical Officer at Loyal Source Government Services. In this capacity, she leads the company’s Behavior Health line of practice. An experienced senior executive with a proven record of success, Dr. Franklin joined the Loyal Source team in May of 2020 to formalize work in the mental health, suicide prevention and substance abuse areas. Expanding Loyal Source’s already impressive service portfolio, she is responsible for designing, implementing, and overseeing contract mental health programs focused on prevention and treatment services for at-risk individuals. A compassionate leader and agent for change, Dr. Franklin is keenly focused on improving access to care and ensuring the delivery of evidence-based services across the Nation. A nationally renowned suicide prevention expert, Dr. Franklin also serves as the Co-Director of the Columbia Lighthouse Project, a Columbia University NY State Psychiatric Institute initiative focused on reducing suicide risk.

Prior to joining Loyal Source, Dr. Franklin worked extensively with military and Veteran populations serving in several senior positions within Headquarters, United States Marine Corps, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and the Department of Veterans Affairs. In her role as Senior Executive Director, Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, Department of Veteran Affairs, she led a U.S.-wide team of subject matter experts in the development and execution of a national public health program targeted toward advancing care for 20 million Veterans. Dr. Franklin is widely credited with implementing an innovative public health approach to suicide prevention in both the Department of Defense and the Department of Veteran Affairs. A fierce advocate for effective mental health programs for Veterans, military service members, and their families, she has testified often before both the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate on matters related to Health Care, including mental health, substance abuse, and suicide prevention.

Dr. Franklin earned her Master of Social Work degree from the University of Maryland and her PhD in Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University. She also has received executive leadership training at Harvard University School of Business and UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School. Currently residing just outside of Washington D.C., Dr. Franklin spends her time outside of work enjoying the outdoors, reading, and writing.

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Happiness Index for Safety and Mental Health with Nick Marks

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Happiness in the workplace matters for sustainable wellbeing, safety, productivity and business outcomes. It predicts if teams and organizations are building a better future. Today, our special guest Nick Marks shares his insights on psychological safety and mental-wellbeing, two critical drivers of safety outcomes. He also addresses skeptics by demonstrating how feelings connect to data.

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Real leaders leave a legacy. They capture the hearts and minds of their teams. Their origin story puts the safety and well-being of their people first. Great companies ubiquitously have safe yet productive operations. For those companies, safety is an investment, not a cost for the C-Suite. It’s a real topic of daily focus. This is The Safety Guru with your host, Eric Michrowski, a globally recognized Ops and The Safety Guru public speaker and author. Are you ready to leave a safety legacy? Your legacy success story begins now.

Hi and welcome to The Safety Guru. I am Eric Michrowski. Today I’m very excited to have with me Nick Marks. He’s a statistician with The Soul. He’s got 25 years working with organizations to improve happiness, quality, quality of life and organizations in general. A phenomenal speaker has also launched a tool called Friday Pulse. We’ll get into that very soon. But Nick, welcome to the show. And I’d love to hear from you a little bit about your passion, how you got into all of this, and how you became a statistician with a soul as a client once called you.

Yes, it’s one of my favorite client quotes. So, I think in some ways what it captures is I’ve got this slightly odd mix. And yes, I am a statistician, but my mother was a family therapist and I trained as a therapist when I was young. So, I sort of have these soft people skills as well. And it probably becomes inevitable that I become the guy that starts measuring people’s experience of life, their happiness, their well-being.

It took a long time to evolve into that. You know, I did a lot of work on sustainability, quality of life, health statistics first and then slowly moved into that area. And I used to work in think tanks. So, I used to advise the Tony Blair government and then the David Cameron government on how to measure well-being and let a lot of work there in a very exciting time in the 2000s where the British government started to take this very seriously.

And then about seven, eight years ago, I started to think about businesses and moved into that area. And so, I now have a business called Friday Pulse, which measures and improves employee experience. And that’s what I do now.

That’s phenomenal background. So, one of the themes that’s incredibly important when you’re trying to improve safety outcomes is that or even wellbeing and all of those components is this element of psychological safety within the business. Can you share a little bit about your thinking, your research and what you’ve seen around the importance of psychological safety and maybe some ideas on how to drive it forward within businesses?

Yeah, I mean, it’s a phrase I think coined by Amy Edmondson and certainly popularized by Google. And it’s really trust. It’s the it’s the you know; trust is really about consistency of behavior. And, you know, in a team when, you know, if you’re going to experiment, you’re going to be innovative, you’re going to collaborate, and you need to have the freedom to express yourself and the security that you will know that you won’t be that that that the spirit of your motivation for doing that will be recognized even if the outcome doesn’t show exactly where we are.

So, it becomes more about process and about how we do that. And I think that psychological safety and of course, you know, if you’re in certain parts of the world, physical safety, I mean, there’s still parts of the of the developing world where physical safety, workplace is not guaranteed, you know. So, but, you know, we’ve actually luckily got legislation in North America and Europe where those things are covered. But it becomes really important people’s experience, because, you know, just like if you’ve got a parent who’s very unreliable, inconsistent, that’s actually the worst type of parenting.

And it’s the same. It’s the same. Same with the boss. I mean, you know, if you don’t really know if the boss’s mood is always going to change or this or you suddenly get an earful for something which you weren’t expecting to you, even when you get praised for something we would expect to, that inconsistency is very difficult to deal with. So, it’s about consistency. It’s about reliability. It’s about support. And there’s lots of evidence that, you know, when that when people are in those environments that not only that teens going to the people, they enjoy working the more and they go hand in hand.

I mean, I wouldn’t say it’s the only cause of people’s positive experience, but it’s a very significant one.

Interesting. So, the other element is that we’ve talked about when we had our conversations together, is that this element that feelings are data. Can you can you share a little bit about and have that element? And is it real? Is it being it tangible? I know a lot of leaders I’ve talked to over the years, particularly operational leaders, doubt the reliability of that data. They don’t even necessarily see it as real, tangible data. So, share some thoughts and insights on that.

So, the expression feelings that they have for me comes from both of those sources. I mean, it’s in some ways a sort of mixture between that statistics and unhappiness. And I. Actually, this is actually the draft title for a TED talk. I was going to do last year, which obviously got canceled because of it. But, you know, my idea really is that is that are our feelings. Firstly, just from a purely neuroscience perspective or psychology perspective or even evolutionary perspective, feelings come before cognition.

So, beings, animals, organisms were in a sense a sentient before they were cognitive. And we needed to feel whether we in the right environment. So, in a sense, our feelings give us information about whether a good fit in our environment had a very, very basic biological level. So, you know, we you know, we can feel creeped out by something without really knowing what it is. The sensation is there before we’ve got the awareness about precisely what it is so we can feel, you know, we can feel secure in an environment without really knowing exactly why.

And that’s because that’s how feelings work in the organism. And in that sense, can we turn them into data? What is data? So, data can be quantitative. It can be qualitative. You know, it could be different types. I, I statistically try and capture that data, which would have just basically a very simple, good, bad signal. So, I’ll ask people things like, you know, have you felt at work this week where you very unhappy to very happy and you get into one to five scale or whatever and people can answer that question.

They can think, oh, this week, yeah, it was a good week. You know what week it was a bad week. And they give you an answer on that. And that’s what I mean by turning feelings into data in this sense, that you can put a number to it. And when you do that, you get very interesting time trend data that by asking about time specific period, you see the ups and downs. And the reality is we’re not happy all the time.

That actually would be kind of dysfunctional because you would be overriding the thing. Sometimes can be bad. The environment changes. You know, it would have been pretty weird to have been exceptionally happy in March this year.

Really? Yeah.

And, you know, and she has been really hard, hasn’t it? You know, and it’s like so it’s perfectly fine to have a goal that you want to be happy, but to also accept the fact you’re not going to be happy all the time. There are not conflicting things to want to do.

So, you touched on the march and feelings and you’ve done some analysis of data through the last several months. How has it revealed? What was the main takeaway that you saw across multiple different organizations?

Yes. So we basically we ask all across our client base, you know, that question. And we basically provide data for team and senior leaders on people’s experience of work. And we do it in real time. Real time. We do weekly in saying, you know, this is how people’s weeks have gone. So, we’ve been we’ve got 52 well, we haven’t quite got 52 measures this year. We’ve got like forty or fifty, whatever it is we’re up to now.

And so, we can see the whole trend through the year. And what we had was a perfectly normal year in January, February, March. I mean, January doesn’t tend to be the happiest months anyway. You’ve just come out of the Christmas period. So, it’s always a bit suppressed after that. People are happy after Christmas to come back. Oh, well, you know, the weather’s pretty bad and its certainly Europe, certainly in England in January, February, you know, it’s the worst time of the year.

So, you know, people aren’t most happy, but, you know, starting to pick up in March, then, you know, the week beginning on the 12th of March, you know, we suddenly had I mean, I was working in London in the beginning of the week. The underground was normal. She was normal. And by Thursday, you know, half of the traffic had gone. It was extraordinary just to see it drift away from us.

And then, you know, the next week we had our lockdown and it was very, very scary in March and it hit our data, all our clients, it plummeted. And then we still a slow climb back up again. But in those first weeks, you know, there was a lot of pressure on H.R. departments, everybody to scramble home. You know, have you got the right equipment? Can we support you? How do you do that?

Everyone is, you know, worrying about their mother. You know, the kids, whatever they worried about. Suddenly kids were home from school. There’s a huge pressure. And all of that comes out in our data. And then we basically see a slight return back to where we were over a period of several months. But then it’s never got back to quite where it was. We’re still we’re still five, ten points down. We sent our data 100 scale.

Chirikova the average was seventy. It’s now 65. So, we’ve seen a drop over that time. A significant drop, actually. But, you know, not as bad as it was in the week, you know, with the Caved strike where it’s more than fifty. So, you know, it’s a big impact and you need data every week to see that. So, you can imagine it as a graph. And of course, we see that.

And lots of our clients, they have setbacks. Teams have setbacks, individuals have setbacks, but they have a global setback. I mean, we never see again, I don’t think is just huge, huge impact. Yeah.

Let’s hope we don’t see it ever again. Yeah, I certainly hope so. I’m a CEO. I get this. There’s regular data point, this pulse on my business. What can I do with that information? Because some might argue it’s too much information. How can I use that to shift? My decisions, my actions, and even if you have some examples from the last few months how it’s helped organizations and businesses would be phenomenal.

Yes. So, the way that we help people use the data is that we feed it back to the right level of the organization. I do think that the best place to act is at the team level. I’m sure it’s the same for safety and everything is that it’s the people you work most closely with. You know, can you rely on the people around you and you work together? Can you have the same goals and collaborate? And what we basically do is feedback data, a mixture of qualitative and quantitative data.

So, we think feedback you how, how what’s the score? Last week when we also ask people, you know, what’s going well for you last week, what hasn’t, and they still allow people to build on what’s gone and deal with what hasn’t. And it’s getting into that weekly flow of people’s work by doing a little and often that you make the most changes, you know, you make that you basically get them talking about their experience. And then that validates that it’s actually useful to listen to people’s experience.

And basically, everybody in an organization is kind of like a sensor that’s sensing everything around them. It’s like that that data was never collected before. You know, it’s that there’s knowledge like whenever there’s a sort of big corporate failure, when they do the investigation afterwards, people within the organization knew something was up. They hadn’t. The data is very rare that something hits, but that totally blindsided. There are people that know and, in a sense, you need to gather that data in a way and encourage people to share not only their successes, but their concerns, because it’s valid to have concerns about what’s going on.

You know, and if you collect that quickly, you can act on it quickly. And I think that’s what most organizations try and do in some way is be responsive to what’s going on. And we have a product that helps platform that helps with that. And we’ve seen lots of different examples. You know, I mean, the issue is covid and working from home was it’s so variable, the experience for people. Sure. You know, people like me whose children are left home and I, I, I live with my wife, who I not only love, I like you know, I enjoy spending time with her.

So, it wasn’t a difficult spend time with Zoya. Some people, you know, my sisters got divorced in covid. I mean, that would be a horrible experience. Yeah, well, three years too late in my opinion, but that’s a different matter. But, you know, but, you know, and other people was stuck at home with young children, which was very, very difficult. Three or four. My team have got children under the age of five and they were driving them up.

The wall wasn’t about their work. They just were a very difficult. So, there was different things that we needed to do. And of course, when you’ve got a bit of data on that, you can start thinking about how, how, how you did. And then you’ve got teams that are struggling. So, you know, I mean, my organization has not been adversely affected by covid. I mean, we’ve had to change. We’ve had to pivot.

I had to lay off some people that were doing events work, but we’ve actually recruited into other areas. So, we’d have to do some changes. And but it hasn’t been a disaster. But if your inhospitality you know, it was right the way across the board. It was you know; it’s just appalling. And if you’re in businesses depend on that or you know, so it’s how do you respond if large organizations have got sections, one sections that haven’t.

And it’s how do you differentiate your policies towards those people? And we’ve you know, we’ve got clients that have done, you know, brilliant work in this area, really, really helping people, you know, cope with it. And I mean, even in my organization, we’ve gone to a four-day week, for example, because I think boundaries between work and life so collapsed and burnout is such a big issue with people working from home and remotely.

They haven’t got that human contact. But they also, you know, just works with their sort of, you know, working for them. I’m working. I’m you probably are. You were completely you know, it’s like how when does work stop? When does life start? Becomes harder. So, I’ve actually just made a bargain with my employees that let’s work hard for four days and have three days off and do other things. And, you know, that’s quite a radical policy.

We can do that in my field. It doesn’t always work with something because it’s 24/7. So, it’s how are you how you look after you employees, I think is changing very dramatically.

Absolutely. And I think what you shared is consistent with all the organization I’ve seen. For some people, it’s been phenomenal. So, for me, the secret blessing is I normally spend almost all my time on a plane and now I get to spend time at home enjoying kind of experiences with my wife. Like you said, it’s a very different experience, but I see others who are constantly trying to balance home schooling and all of those components all at the same time and trying to do work.

And they don’t necessarily have a partner that can help, but it’s a very, very different experience. But it gives you insights on how I can lead, how it can drive change, how it can drive impact on the themes that are relevant for my workforce at this point in time when one of the themes I’d like to explore. Law is the impact that you can get from a mental health standpoint, because we know the link between mental health, mental wellbeing and safety, overall safety culture incredibly linked.

Unfortunately, not all organizations are talking about that link. More and more are trying to drive visibility, awareness to the importance of mental health. What’s your thoughts around mental health, well-being? And would you be able to gather from a pulse within your business?

So, I mean, mental health is. Still a lot of stigma around it and there’s a lot of work going on about destigmatizing it, but this is just a story from just two years ago. I know I spoke at a conference on a group called Minds at Work here in the UK who do a lot of work on mental health at work. And a fireman went off work for being injured in a fire. And he was off work for six months and 100 colleagues came to see him.

He then had stress two years later and one colleague came to see him and was still terrified of that sort of, you know, mental health breakdown, breakthrough, whatever it is. And it’s and it’s an issue that is starting to change. I mean, you know, we see it we see it being led probably sometimes. Yes. At work, but we also see it being led in the sort of celebrity world, like there’s a band, little mix.

I don’t know if you got teens who are interested into them, but one of them has decided to retire from the band for mental health reasons. And it’s not getting paid. It’s getting really supported out there is basically saying, yes, you need to look after yourself. That’s what you need to do. And so, I think we’re talking more and more about it. And it’s becoming more and more accepted and it’s more accepted in the work. But the issue is it feels, you know, a little bit frightened of it because they’re frightened of their own mental health.

They’re frightened if we stopped going forward, you know, would we fall over? I think Einstein once said, you know, life is like riding a bicycle. If you stop paddling, you fall over. And it’s just a feeling that if we don’t continue, will, you’ll suddenly collapse. I think that’s really unwise because I think when the end happens is burnout happens and, you know, burnout tends to be from people who engaged in their work, but they go the extra mile.

That isn’t the same as mental health. It’s a different issue, but it’s a problem. But mental health, I think it’s about working with people. There’s a lot of new neurologically atypical people, particularly in tech businesses and whatever like that. You know, probably 20 percent of the population are what we could call neurologically atypical, you know, and that’s a lot of the workforce. And so, it’s often brilliant, all sorts of things.

They just need some different boundaries. And I don’t really understand why. I think this straitjacket of, like, you work from nine to five or ten to six or so over time is going I mean, I he doesn’t actually work for us anymore. But I had an employee who really did struggle every few months with something. But, you know, I just used to say to him, we need two days off. You have two days off.

And I knew he’d make it up because he didn’t, he wasn’t irresponsible. He just was just, you know, couldn’t get out of bed that day. And you don’t help it by sort of saying, pull yourself together. That’s not how you do it, by being kind and compassionate to them and, you know, and talking. Yes. About the business needs. But, you know, but also about what their needs are. And it’s a sort of dance between those two.

It’s you know, it’s like employing I mean, I’m going to say particularly women, but it’s parents with young children, really. But, you know, I’ve had a lot of people have maternity leave or have children, you know, during you know, during my time working people. If you if you’re kind to them, they come back and they give you everything. So, it’s being enlightened in your leadership. And doing a mental health is the same really in the you know, it’s accepting that people’s anxieties, their panic attacks, it’s depression.

This is something that they’re living with. It’s not something. And it does get triggered by environments in that, you know, if you put too much stress on them or put them in a team that you know really doesn’t help, then, you know, it’s going to get exaggerated. But you can work with it, you know, like one of the supermarket chains in the UK. They work with a lot of people with depression. And you know, what you don’t want to do is shove them at the back of a dark warehouse because that’s basically going to make their problems worse.

If you put them in a bright light place where they can interact with other people, which might be, you know, in the car parks doing trolleys, it might be helping pack bags, it might be doing shelves, whether in the light they’re much better. If you put them in a dark warehouse, they’re not going to do well. It’s understanding what the triggers are for them, listening to them and working with it. And people tend to thrive when they feel cared about.

So, and I I’m you know, that’s definitely the side of the fence I’m on. I know that other people some people have other views on that. But I think that we can work with people from all walks of life. And if you if you respect them, they respect you back 95 percent of the time and the five percent of time they don’t. Well, then deal with it. You know, let’s assume the best. And then occasionally you deal with the things that they work.

Yeah. And I think with the pulse that you’re advocating is you’re getting a sense for themes within the business that are emerging so you can better adapt and be more enlightened. In terms of your comments before that last question I want to throw, we talked about feelings or data. How do you deal with a skeptic? Because I’ve come across. Engineers, though, say it’s not real data perception data input of that nature is not real data. How do you overcome that challenge?

Well, I mean, one engineer is a brilliant to talk to about this because they understand feedback and if you start explaining to them in analogies, they can hear about, you know, basically a thermometer, a governor in a steam engine, whatever is a feedback loop, just basically through the and steam engine, you know, where more steam goes through and it starts closing the steam. And it’s basically a feedback loop. Emotions are the same in lots of ways.

Some of them are positive reinforcing. Some of them are negative dampening, but they’re basically helping us act efficiently in the world. And so, it is data, it’s not the same data. So, you know, when you when you’ve got so-called objective data, you know, you’re counting physical things. When you have subjective data, you’re using scales. You’re using things which basically people are giving you a sense of the difference. So, when I ask people how have you felt at work this week, I give them five response codes.

Very unhappy, unhappy. OK, happy. Very happy. If I can answer that. We don’t know precisely three to the four is the same as from one to two. In fact, I can tell you, isn’t the data quite well? It is, but it is ordered. The data is ordered. And so, you can work with that data, which just you have to work with it differently. You also have to understand you’re not maximizing.

People often think that you’ll take any variable going to maximize your optimizing with subjective data. You know, actually, you don’t want people to be not you don’t want them to be. It’s unrealistic for people to be very happy all of the time. You actually kind of want to know when they’re feeling very happy and you want to know when they’re feeling happy and want to know when they’re feeling OK. And that is data is feedback and it’s learning. I mean, the whole way that organizations and us as individuals is that we learn, we learn.

So, we need to have feedback that helps us learn. And I use that’s how I use the data. And so, you know, we create effectively what we call happiness KPI for business, which is this data weekly team happiness. And it’s a people metric for people, for organizations and organizations don’t have good people metrics. They tend to have what we call lagging indicators like; you know, how many people didn’t turn up for work, how many people left us, or do we do an engagement survey once a year, which gives you a snapshot experiences really fluid.

It’s not a snapshot. It’s not even a series of snapshots. You know, you could have done a snapshot in February this year and then three months later and three months is a really frequent pulse survey. You know, your set up march, you may well, you just basically see almost a flat line. You’ve just missed the whole dramatic, interesting part, you know. And so, you know, by taking data more frequently, you get that fluidity.

And basically, our experience is fluid. It’s always ebbing and flowing. It’s you know, you can you can take people’s I mean; I measure weekly because that’s convenient. It’s good for work. But, you know, sure, you could measure people’s experience through a morning and you’d have it going up. You could measure it through an hour and it’d be going up and down your year, a lifetime. You know, there’s different wavelengths if you want to do of it.

So, it absolutely is data. It’s data that’s correlated and predicts things. We know that people who have more good weeks and bad weeks are happier at work, are more productive. We know they stay longer. We know they’re more creative and innovative. We know that they have a better safety record when they go back to that, because if you care about the machinery you’re working with or you care about your colleagues, you know, you take care and you and you avoid you deal with risks and you avoid you avoid things getting out of control, which, you know, most accidents are a series of errors, aren’t they?

And if you’ve got that communication and collaboration, well, it works out better. So, you know, it’s not only is it data, it’s useful data and it predicts future good outcomes. So, I take it seriously. It’s my opinion.

I think that’s phenomenal. Last starting point you launched recently a tool called Friday one. Can you share a little bit about what it is and how it can help businesses?

Yes. So, Friday one is, say, Friday Pulse is the business we have, which creates platforms for teams and organizations. So, we wanted to do something that was for individuals. People always ask us how can we do something on our own? So, we’ve created Friday one, which is basically a sort of an individual. These are the key drivers to happiness at work. How are you doing on it? So, if you’ve ever taken one of those tests, like six personalities organize breaks, you do them and give you a report back, that’s the same thing, but it’s context.

So, one of my critiques of those sort, the personality test, is that their context free. And actually, we change personalities, we change who we are. We change how we feel, giving context. So, our context is very specific to your work and it’s your work now when you fill it out and basically, we ask you how you doing on the five big drivers which we call which are which are about relationships, about fairness in the system, about autonomy, about learning and about purpose.

So, we call those connect, be fair power challenge, inspire. So, you ask three questions on each and some demographic questions. I give you benchmarks and you get a lovely report and it’s to help you reflect. On your work and how you doing, and that does form part of our Friday post when we do it for whole organization, but this is just a free tool for individuals to do and have fun with.

And can they track themselves in terms of time and how they’re progressing, or is it a one-time snap?

It is a one-time stop, which is why we called it Friday one. And the reason we haven’t done that is also to keep our problems of storing people’s data with a free tool. And you do get into, you know, sort of things like we decided we do a snapshot. We may we may do something tracking, but we you have to get a little bit you have to get a little bit fancier with that stuff. And so, at the moment, it’s a snapshot and you can say the PDF and do it again three months later and look at it.

But we don’t hold your data in any way. We didn’t want to get into that really. And you just go to Friday, one dot com and, you know, take the test. And it’s just that’s it’s just free and fun to use.

Love it. Well, thank you very much, Nick, for taking the time for connecting, sharing your thoughts, their own feelings and the impact on the business and great insights in terms of how people can shift from week to week, from day to day from hour to hour based on the context, the environment they’re in.

Thank you very much indeed.

Thank you for listening to The Safety Guru on C-Suite radio. Leave a legacy, distinguish yourself from the pack, grow your success, capture the hearts and minds of your teams. Fuel your future. come back in two weeks for the next episode or listen to our sister show with the Ops guru, Eric Michrowski.

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ABOUT THE GUEST

Nic Marks, Founder & CEO, Friday Pulse

Described by one client as a “statistician with a soul”, Nic has been working in the field of happiness and wellbeing for over 25 years.

In 2010 Nic gave a TED talk on his previous work in public policy, which has now been watched over 2.3million times. Named as one of the Top Ten Original Thinkers by the IoD’s Director Magazine, Nic’s work was hailed as one of Forbes Magazine’s Seven Most Powerful Ideas in 2011.

As Founder and CEO of Friday Pulse, Nic shares his creative thinking with leading organisations on how positive emotions drive productivity and profit.

For More Information: https://fridaypulse.com/

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Mental Health & Suicide Prevention in Construction with Kathleen Dobson

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In recognition of World Mental Health Day, we are in conversation with Kathleen Dobson, Safety Director at Alberici. She shares some critical insights on Mental Health Awareness and Suicide Prevention in Construction. The learnings relate to so many industries. Gather some insights, reflect on how you can apply these to improve the safety of your workplace and make a difference!

Read about Mental Health: https://www.propulo.com/blog/category/safety/mental-health/ 

READ THIS EPISODE

Real leaders leave a legacy. They capture the hearts and minds of their teams; their origin story puts the safety and well-being of their people first. Great companies ubiquitously have safe, yet productive operations. For those companies, safety is an investment, not a cost for the C-Suite. It’s a real topic of daily focus. This is The Safety Guru with your host Eric Michrowski, a globally recognized Ops and The Safety Guru public speaker and author. Are you ready to leave a safety legacy? Your legacy success story begins now. Hi and welcome to The Safety Guru. My name is Eric Michrowski and today I’m very excited to have with me Kathleen Dobson, who’s the safety director with Alberich. She’s here to talk to us a little bit about suicide prevention and awareness in the construction industry. Kathleen, welcome to the show. Really happy to have you part of the conversations. Oh, thank you so much, Eric. It’s my pleasure to be here. Kathleen, to start out, if you can share a little bit about your journey and how you got into safety and really, you’re passionate about the topic we’re going to talk about today on suicide prevention. Absolutely. Thanks. I started out as a hospital based registered nurse, and after about 15 years in the hospital, I ended up working for a manufacturer as their occupational health and safety nurse. And some of the roles that the nurse had were not very traditional. For example, I was responsible for managing confined spaces and I was responsible for conducting aerial lift training and for truck training, things that I really didn’t have experience in. And so, I. Educated myself, got some training, and as I was is that was developing my training programs, I was asked to participate in safety audits again, something that I wasn’t really familiar with, but I really enjoyed. And when that position ended, because, you know, the company downsized and so on, I found myself with several different experiences, hospital-based nursing, manufacturing, a little bit of safety, a little bit of training. And I was fortunate enough to find a job with Albury’s constructors who recognized that I understood behavior-based safety and some components of construction. So that’s kind of how we got to where I’m at now, you know, back 20 years ago and really my passion for suicide prevention. I’ve had several friends and relatives who have committed suicide. One was a registered nurse, colleague of mine. She was probably one of the first people that I knew that had taken her own life. My husband’s cousin, my own cousin. And so, there’s I think it’s it shows that almost anybody can be affected by suicide. And about five years ago, I heard a presentation from a group called the Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention. And I said, wow, that sounds great. And I and I found that one of the organizations that I belong to, network, which is the National Association of Women in Construction, as well as Tom, as well as talk, the Association of Women and Constructors were both involved pretty heavily in this in this process. And when I went to network to ask them how active and how involved we were, they said not very they were lending their name more than anything else. And I said, well, we need to do more because this is a real crisis in the industry. People are dying every single day, much more so much more so than falls in electrocution and being struck by vehicles on the highway. But we never we don’t talk about it and we don’t recognize it. So, both talk and network have put together position statements. And since they’ve been doing that, I’ve been advocating for mental health awareness and suicide prevention. That’s phenomenal. Can you share maybe a little bit about why it’s so important in the construction industry, some of the elements that make it perhaps more prone to suicide and the risk associated with it? Oh, sure. Well, in construction for many, many years is really an institution with a pretty narrow view of who belongs. So, gender, race, religion and ethnicity are all concerns. And if you were in the building, trades in your family were not part of the generations of workers. You’re really an outsider until it’s proven otherwise and. So, people who are outsiders, obviously are not included in in the day-to-day companionship, relationship, the camaraderie, the community that the construction industry offers, and if they have issues and honestly, there’s probably 40 or 50 percent of people in the United States who at one time or another have some sort of a diagnosable mental illness, whether it’s, you know, I mean, it could be depression that that’s temporary or could be depression. That’s long term and overwhelming. But the construction industry has been having been made up of very stoic men mostly. And the industry is recognized for high hazards and taking risks and being the tough guys. If you’re injured, you just kind of suck it up and you go on with your business and. So those are just some of the reasons why construction gets impacted, because we don’t, we don’t share our feelings. We are we are taught really to not. Suffer, you suffer in silence and that and that just the overall attitude, nothing can happen to me and. We’ve got this this real sort of macho image, right, about the about the industry, these are traits that are that are in quite a few other industries as well. There’s no doubt that. But all of this also has an impact in terms of overall health and safety, because if I’m not well, in some way, shape or form, I’m not going to show up with potential on the job. And other things can also happen, which can impact myself and also my peers. Can you could you show me maybe a little bit more about why businesses need to do more? I often have heard in the past, which I think is completely wrong, that business shouldn’t start dealing with mental health themes and issues. Tell me more about how you remove the stigma and why it’s so critical for businesses to drive change around suicide and suicide prevention. Well, I think I think you use you mentioned a word that I don’t like using, and that is stigma because stigma places the places a negative impact on the individual. If you’re stigmatized, you are often negatively looked at in you with your group. And we really should not we really shouldn’t put blame on people because they are depressed or they’re in pain or are there or they may have another issue that that has caused them to suffer with their mental health. Right. And I think it’s and I think it’s important that we talk about it. You know, another situation that has happened in the industry is that we’ve brought on board and recruited many, many, many people who have transitioned out of the armed services. And a lot of those individuals, especially if they have seen action in in a war zone or some sort of a conflict, they suffer from post-traumatic stress. And so, the triggers on the job site, loud noises, shouting, can trigger a stress reaction. If we talk about it, if we talk about it, it becomes very commonplace. And I can’t I can’t take credit for this. But one of my colleagues said if we can talk about prostate problems and psoriasis. We can talk about mental health and suicide prevention. And I think that I think that, you know, as we see from years ago, no one ever said the word cancer. And because there was that that that view that, oh, you know, there was something bad about that. And so. Once we started to recognize there’s nothing bad about it, we can help people who have cancer, we can we can help them transition through the different phases of the illness, even if it is deadly to them. They need they need our support. They don’t need to be isolated and ostracized. And I think that our ethic, our individuals who are having mental health crises should also be treated the same way. They should not be isolated; they should not be ostracized. And it takes an individual who has a keen eye and ear for listening to their fellow workers and cheering, hearing them talk about situations, their families, what’s going on in their lives, and as well as, you know, that sort of inflection that they’re hearing, how they’re doing their work. And if we can educate our first line or front-line supervisors to make them more aware of what to look for, patterns to look for, if people are kind of going down that that path towards suicide, I think we’re going to save a lot of lives. I think that’s so important. It’s part of the work environment is a huge part of each person’s life. And the more people are aware of signs, the more they’re prepared to address these issues, have conversations, the more positive impact we can have overall. So, I think this is incredibly important what you’re doing in that space and really trying to create more awareness around it for businesses. So, on that topic, what can businesses do to drive real impact around this? Well, you know, we talk about having employee assistance programs, and I think that they’re great. However, most employee assistance programs are designed to assist people in a in a traditional work setting, in an office setting, I believe. I don’t think they’re often equipped to manage field workers because they don’t understand what the field workers going through. They don’t understand the aches and pains that they have at the end of every single day. And how those aches and pains then can transition into another trigger, which is overuse of prescription medications and an addiction to those prescription medications. So, I think that having an employee assistance program is great. I think that the people involved with employee assistance programs need to get out onto job sites to see how workers are and how the work is done, because nobody’s going to call in employee assistance program if they don’t trust that that their conversations are kept confidential and that and that there’s no way for it to get back to the human resource department. Because are they going to put a little checkmark beside my name or a little asterisk when it says Kathy made a phone call to the AP and she’s known she’s concerned with her finances or she’s concerned with her marital status or she’s concerned about the addiction that she has. So having an AP program, I think getting families involved just by sending home material, it doesn’t have to be really focused. It can just say something like, are you OK? And if you have if you have a problem, here’s a number to call or here’s a person to talk to. Right. I’ve seen I’ve seen job fairs or, you know, where people bring in their families to celebrate a project. And there’s some vendors there, you know, they have some gateway is they have some games for children. And occasionally you’ll see a table set up, nobody behind the table, just pamphlets and information about substance abuse and alcohol abuse and mental health awareness and suicide prevention. Those tables get cleared out all the all the information gets taken and it can be a family member or it gets taken by the individuals themselves because they don’t have to directly say anything to anybody. Again, having a supervisor trained and aware so that they can. Be what we call a gatekeeper from the field to from the field to a to a helping environment to that to the suicide lifeline. No, to just say, hey, how are you doing? And can and continue to probe. Because when somebody when somebody typically ask you how you’re doing. Oh, yeah, I’m OK. But if that person says, you know what, you just don’t seem like yourself, you seem as though you’ve got something weighing on your shoulders. Do you want to talk about it? And sometimes that it gives people the opportunity to open up at that point. That’s really important. And I know when we’ve talked about on the up side before, there’s some organizations I’ve seen where the EP has gone to the next level, where they also have peers that are part of the organization that that were previously front-line workers are still front-line workers who take part in this. So that that seems to address your point around people that understand the work environment. So, with some skills around it, I think the theme of the supervisor awareness and understanding is so critical because that’s a person that’s going to interact the most with a team member that and they have a chance to check in. And on Australia, they had an annual campaign that’s are you OK? And it’s really around helping broach the topic, the conversation and speaking about it in all organizations on a regular basis around the importance of mental health, mental wellbeing, but also in terms of suicide prevention. We agree. And I think that by asking somebody, do you feel suicidal? They’re not going to go out and commit suicide. They’re going to recognize that as a as is a helpline that they could utilize. One thing I wanted was the one thing that I wanted to point out about having front line supervisors, being those individuals who can really make a difference. I read I read an article over the weekend, a gentleman by the name of Calvin Byers. He is he’s really a thought leader. He’s really been on the forefront of addressing suicide prevention in the construction industry and mental health awareness. He said, you know, nowadays we have to focus in on people’s eyes because we can’t see we can’t see expression any other way. And sometimes you can see in people’s eyes the sadness that’s there when they when they are suffering with an issue. Wow. That’s really, really important point. And I think in terms of really connecting with that, that means you’ve got to be comfortable making that eye contact, having a conversation, be looking for potentially signs of challenges that may be happening. Exactly, and, you know, as I said, our supervisors are not always they’re not always the most. People, persons on the job site, you know, a lot of times they are right there, the people there to get things done, they’re not the people that are on site to kind of. Coach and guy, you know, give the old hugs and tell them that people are doing you’re doing OK. Exactly. And I know just a couple of days ago, there was World Mental Health Awareness Day, and there was it was looking into it just before our conversation. And I found a staggering statistic from the CDC that just talks about the relevance, importance of this. They said that this was done just over the summer and said one in 10 Americans had considered suicide the previous month, about twice as many as in twenty eighteen. So, the problem, obviously, was with social distancing and the pandemic likely pointing to this increase. But the other element is young adults, eight to twenty-four. The proportionate proportion was astonishing. It was one in four. So just really such a critical theme now and in construction, but in so many other industries are really in the space of health and safety. Yeah, and, you know, you talk about the one in 10 and how that number is really increased, I think that, you know, because we have been so isolated and in in our own homes and away from our community and our and in our people that have always given us comfort. You know, if you if you had problems at home before, they’re probably not going to be any better because you’re there all the time. Exactly. And, you know, when you when you address the children that No. One in four. That’s really that’s frightening. And it I think that that really looks at the issues that surround the culture that the children are in, the intimidation, the harassment, the bullying that that that child get. That’s really that really becomes a psychological that really has a psychological impact on them. You know, as an adult, sometimes we can deal with that. But when you’re a child, you have no idea how to how to deal with somebody who is always putting you down because of your height, your weight, your inability to do sports because you’re a nerd, whatever the case may be. I mean, there are there are hundreds of different reasons why children are ostracized or picked upon and children don’t know how to deal with it. That be really well, to the next mix theme I’d love to explore with you is really what can you do about this? So, you’ve talked about what organizations can do, but what can an individual who listens to this, who has awareness, has what is it that you can do to make a difference in ultimately people’s lives? One of the first things that I would that I would recommend is for people to download the Lifelines for suicide prevention on their phones and in and in there, and then they’re messaging. You know, so that if you come across somebody, you can readily say, hey, do we need to call this number or do you need some assistance with just finding some support? And if we advocate and if we can advocate for people. I think that’s really, really important, you know, the suicide lifeline number, by the way, is 800. Two, seven, three. Eight to five, five. And the and the lifeline number is seven four one seven four one phenomenal resources to have it at your fingertips. If ever you come in, come into a situation where you’ve got to have a conversation, do something about it. So, thank you for sharing that. And any other suggestions for people in terms of a difference they can make, either in terms of if you know somebody that that might be contemplating or you’re not sure how to approach the conversation or even if you want your organization that your part of this are really embracing that something needs to happen. I think I think really just opening up the conversation is the first real key step in all of that. And just being able to ask that first question, are you OK? All right. There’s many, many, many ways that an individual can help and support. But, you know, just by being an advocate, if you’re on the job site, find, find and download some posters, some suicide prevention, some suicide prevention posters. Ask your company to offer workplace mental health screenings. Get the AP involved or community mental health professionals in so that they understand and know the workplace and the culture of the company, and I think it’s important also for us to recognize that if somebody has a mental health issue when they come back to work. Neither they nor their problems should be ignored. You should be able to talk to them and say, hey, welcome back, we’re glad to have you back. But if you if you continue to have an issue, I’m here to help you. You know, thanks for trusting in me. I’m on your side. That’s really important. And I thank you for everything you’ve done in terms of creating awareness around this, in terms of helping organizations start embracing in terms of the role and how they can make a difference. I really appreciate you coming on the show to speak more about this critical topic around suicide awareness and prevention. So, thank you so much, Kathleen. Oh, sure thing. And just one more reminder, everybody takes that checkup from the neck up. Thank you for listening to The Safety Guru on C-Suite radio. Leave a legacy, distinguish yourself from the pack, grow your success, capture the hearts and minds of your team’s. Fuel your future. come back in two weeks for the next episode or listen to our sister show with the Ops guru Eric Michrowski.

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ABOUT THE GUEST

Kathleen Dobson is a 21+ year veteran of the construction industry. As Safety Director for Alberici Constructors, she has responsibility for and supports their automotive, heavy civil, mining and industrial processes divisions. Kathi is engaged in project start up and provides sites with ongoing evaluations, audits and training when needed. Kathi is zealous regarding safety of workers and believes that everyone should be able to say they have the right PPE, the right training and the right environment in which to work. She is active on several national committees where she focuses on standards, advocacy and influencing the construction industry.

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