This May, the American Heart Association, the world’s leading nonprofit organization focused on heart and brain health for all and local sponsor Collins Electrical Company, Inc. are working together to support the mental well-being of craftworkers through the Hard Hats with Heart initiative.
Careers in the construction industry are hard work. They are physically and mentally demanding, require early start times, long hours, strenuous activity and often, eating what is on hand rather than what is healthy. The American Heart Association’s Hard Hats with Heart initiative engages industrial workers and inspires them to live healthier, longer lives.
In a recent survey of employees from more than 10 Hard Hats with Heart member companies, mental health was a top concern. Mental well-being includes emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It can affect how a person thinks, feels, and acts. It also helps determine how a person manages stress, relates to others, and make choices. After the past two years of isolation, uncertainty, and other adjustments supporting mental well-being is more important than ever. According to the National Institute of Mental Health one in five adults in the United States experiences mental illness in a given year, and research shows that mental well-being has been significantly impacted by the pandemic. There is a growing concern about mental health in the construction industry because it ranks second highest in deaths by suicide among major industries according to a 2020 study.
As a founding member of Hard Hats with Heart, Collins Electrical Company, Inc. has prioritized supporting their employee’s mental well-being by providing resources, connections to mental health professionals, and offering presentations on the connection between mental well-being and heart health by the American Heart Association at local job sites.
“As a business owner it is my duty to provide as many resources as possible to support my team’s mental and emotional well-being. As someone who lives with anxiety, I want to be one of these resources by being open about my journey and serving as a source of support,” said Brian Gini, Co-CEO of Collins Electrical Company, Inc., and Hard Hats with Heart member. “Anxiety, stress, and the pressures of life can take a terrible toll on heart and brain health and lead to life-threatening events. Hard Hats with Heart is supporting the unique emotional needs of craftworkers by providing tools to help them better understand stressors in their lives so they can address these in healthy ways.”
Poor mental well-being can lead to a person seeking relief in unhealthy habits such as smoking, drinking, or eating fatty foods. Research also shows there could be physiological connections, too. The biological and chemical factors that trigger mental health issues also could influence heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends discussing how you are feeling, both physically and mentally, with your healthcare provider. He or she will be able to help or refer you to the most appropriate care or provide the best place to start.
Learn more about the Greater Sacramento and Valley Area Hard Hats with Heart visit heart.org/ValleyHardHats.