Episode 14: Dealing with the issues of #Suiside and #Addiction in the Construction Industry


Episode 14: Dealing with the issues of #Suiside and #Addiction in the Construction Industry


This Thursday, Matt Dowling sits down with Jon O'Brien the Executive Director of the Keystone Contractors Association (KCA) to discuss the difficult issues the Construction Industry is dealing with across the commonwealth and country.

O'Brien assumed his professional role on January 1, 2017. In this role he oversees a commercial construction trade association that is active throughout most of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. KCA is renowned for providing the construction industry labor relations, safety services, workforce development, business development and community service.

O'Brien is also co-host of the Building PA Podcast. He is a graduate from the University of Pittsburgh with a dual degree in journalism and history. He is also a Navy Veteran, serving his country from 1995 to 1999. Outside of work, O'Brien spends his time supporting his community in Dillsburg, PA and he enjoys life with his lovely wife, three beautiful daughters and two boxer dogs.

As always, Commonalities can be heard on WMBS Radio 590AM 101.1FM every Tuesday and Thursday following the 11:00 AM local, district, and statewide news; or downloaded at www.Commonalities.online and found anyplace you download your favorite podcasts.

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Episode Transcript
Starting now. Commonalities where guests find common ground through uncommon conversations, politics, religion, finances, all the topics your grandmother told you not to discuss with friends. And now your host, Matthew Dowling, and today's guests on commonalities. Well, welcome to another episode of Commonalities. I'm your host, Matt Dowling, here on W Nmb, S five 90 am 1 0 1 0.1 fm, and any place you download your favorite podcasts. Uh, today on commonalities, my guest is John O'Brien, and John is with the Keystone Contractors Association, as well as the General Contractors Association of Pennsylvania. John, thank you for being with us. Here today. Glad to be here. Thanks for, uh, thanks for the invite. I'm looking forward to the talk. Absolutely. And I know you have a lot of good information that, uh, you can share with our listeners at home here in the Fayette County area, and those from around the Commonwealth in the country that tune in to the, uh, the digital version of our podcast. Now, I wanted to give you a minute at the top of the conversation to, uh, kind of do some self introduction, give a little bit of your history and background, and talk about the organizations that you work for and Represen. Represent. Yeah. Um, again, you know, thanks for having me. Uh, I am, uh, John O'Brien, as you mentioned. I grew up in central pa. Then after high school, went to the Navy, served our country for four years, uh, four awesome years. Spent most of it in nor Norfolk, Virginia. Thank you for your service. Um. Enjoyed every minute of it. Then after that, went to University of Pittsburgh and met my, uh, future wife and two pit grads living together. She's a pittsburgher. So we ended up, uh, raising a family in Pittsburgh. And then six years ago, the KCA came calling and said, Hey, uh, would you maybe consider running kca? Uh, it's based in Harrisburg. You grew up in Mechanicsburg and had to talk to the wife and three daughters, you know, but, uh, I think I sold 'em on it, and we've been here looking on almost seven years now, and they love it, and it's been great. So, um, but yeah, as far as the, the groups I, uh, I work for and represent, that's, it's kind of confusing when I meet with people, especially in the legislative arena. Um, so KCA is Keystone Contractor Association. We are your traditional trade association, uh, for our union members. We negotiate on your behalf. We negotiate with carpenters, union operating engineers, laborers, cement, masons, uh, brick layers, um, kind of the non-mechanical trades. Uh, we also offer, uh, education, networking, all that fun stuff that you get at, uh, you know, an association, Gulf outings and, and whatnot. Um, and then GCAP is General Contractor's Association of Pennsylvania. And due to KCA being located in the Harrisburg area, the executive director of KCA has traditionally doubled as the ED of gcap. And GCAP members are Master Builders Association, where I used to work in Pittsburgh, and then General Building Contractors Association in Philadelphia, and then the association up in Scranton. So, collectively, GCAP represents, uh, thousand plus contractors all around the Commonwealth, and it's strictly government affairs. Um, so yeah, those are the two groups, and that's kind of who I am and glad to be here today. So, John, with those organizations, um, what are kind of your key roles? I, I know you oversee the organization, but what are some of the, uh, the key goals or objectives of, uh, of Keystone contractors or the general contractors. In pa? Um, like I said, gcap is more the government affairs. So those goals are to monitor legislation and, uh, you know, push for good, good policy that increases jobs and man hours and construction projects. Uh, the safety's real important as well as, as, you know, every organization's safety's, uh, prior priority number one. Um, as far as kca, uh, so like I mentioned in 2016, they approached me and I, I know Pittsburgh inside out. I know all the contractors, I know the history. I could tell you who built what building, um, but take me outside of Allegheny County, and it was like a whole new world for me. So I thought I would take the first six months, you know, just to kind of get to know the members and understand what's going on, and kind of see what their challenges are and kind of create a strategic plan from those challenges. So 2016 into 2017, I was, you know, going to Johnstown, Scranton, Redding, York, all the areas, you know, where we have a large base of, of contractors. And the reoccurring issue kept popping up. I kept hearing about opioids. He kept hearing about pain meds, uh, back-to-back meetings with, uh, an apprenticeship council. We had back-to-back meetings where he heard the story about the All-American boy, you know, he played all sports in high school. Then he got into construction, got some, uh, pains and some issue, or he had some, uh, you know, some injuries on the job site. So they would, you know, push 'em towards pain meds, you know, to keep 'em working. And then next thing you know, it's, you know, you hear about heroin and death. It was back to back meetings back in 2017 where it was like death by drugs. And it just, I just approached the KCA board and I'm like, this is, this is nuts. This is crazy. Maybe I lived a shelter life in, in Pittsburgh, but I wasn't exposed to all this, you know, it was quite, quite different. No, don't get me wrong with Pittsburgh has its challenges and some issues as well, but it was, it was, uh, worse out here, you know, as much as far as the industry goes. So, you know, collectively. Well, in, in, in, in this, in the, in this timeframe, we're seeing even more of addiction that is starting with per prescription painkillers. Um, just within the last year, we saw that there were a number of, uh, a number of counties that came together to, uh, sue the, um, uh, the makers of Oxycontin. And of course they won that. And they, they have some money to spend over the next 10 years that will be paid out, uh, to talk about addiction and recovery. Yeah. So I didn't mean to cut you off, but we've, we've seen a, a problem, not that addiction hasn't always been a, a problem because it has been since the beginning of civilization really, um, you know, since man started using substances of, of any nature. Um, but in this time period that opioid epidemic has really become, um, a larger problem. That's, that was one of the biggest issues in my six years in the general assembly that we were trying to address. And unfortunately we're doing so with, uh, with very little success rates. So, I didn't mean to cut you off, but I wanted to kind of interject how big that problem. Has become. Yeah, it just cause of getting bigger and bigger and, you know, COVID hasn't health matters at all. Um, but no, like, um, when I said I didn't realize it was a bigger problem, I meant more work wise, more construction wise. Yeah. So, so Pi Pittsburgh was, was a pioneer when it comes to, to drug testing. We started drug testing the construction industry in 1999. This was years before. So my whole working career, I've been exposed to drug testing and, you know, labor management, working together and working with the apprentices, you know, to educate them on the, the harms of the issues. And, and there's low drug rates amongst Pittsburgh's, you know, construction trades. And then, like I said, I move out here in 2016 and I'm going through the CBAs and I'm like, there's no mention at all about drug testing. There's no drug policy at all. I'm like, I thought this day and age it would be everywhere, you know, in construction. So it's kind of a whole, whole new world for me. Um, so yeah, like I said, I approached the KCA board and I said, we really need to do something. So, you know, construction is famous for its, uh, recognition weeks. You know, we have like ladder safety week, you know, driver training, training week, all these, these different weeks throughout the year. And we started one, uh, last week of July, the construction opioid awareness week. It's a week dedicated to, you know, raising awareness, getting educational resources out to employers so they can talk to their employees about it. Uh, we got little stickers from the National Safety Council that workers can put on their, their insurance cards and their medical cards. And once you go to a medical office or a pharmacy, you're not pulling that card out again. So the significance of the sticker is you, you know, Mr. Employer, you're sitting down with your workers saying, Hey, we care about you. We care about your family. You know, here's, here's a sticker I want you to put on there. Just, just to remind you, just the back of your head, just, just so you know, it says, opioids warn me, you know, so the pharmacist is supposed to warn them if there's an opioid and in, uh, in whenever they're giving them. Um, so that, that was huge. You know, we got a lot of, a lot of press, a lot of positive feedback from contractors. Um, the best, the best feedback I got was an electrician out of Redding, and I've tried since then to reach out to him just to see what's going on. But he called me and said, uh, you know, what you're doing is awesome. I'm a recovering addict, and this is amazing. I'm talking to my coworkers about it. I feel like I'm can finally talk about it. You've got it to the point where people can talk about it in the industry, and it's not something that you block anymore. Hide. Kind of a way of de-stigmatizing, um, you know, addiction and allowing to it to be out in the open, um, because we can't address that problem in less, you know, unless people are open and, and. <Crosstalk>. But you since left that company, and I'm trying to track him down. If he listens to commonalities, hope he gives me a call again. So <laugh>. But that was awesome. And then the coolest part was other states started, started doing this as well. So Massachusetts started one, um, Illinois started, and I believe, uh, Virginia as well. So they see the success that we're having there with employers talking. So it's, uh, it's good stuff going on here. Well, hey, that's great, John. And, uh, and we have to get our first break in. When we come back, we want to continue our conversation, talking a little bit more about, uh, the workforce and what you're doing to, uh, recruit, uh, young people into, uh, into the construction trades. But we're gonna take that quick break and we'll be right back after these messages. You are listening to commonalities where guests find common ground through uncommon conversations. We'll be back after this brief break to recognize our sponsors. Is your business using analog strategies in a digital marketing world? If so, then contact Matthew or Rebecca Dowling at Coordinated 360 for a professional consultation where we bring in-depth knowledge and functional expertise with a holistic perspective. Coordinated 360 provides digital marketing, paid ad and media buying services, web design, social media management, video production, and more for businesses, organizations, and political campaigns with decades of experience. Matt and Becky at Coordinated 360 can help you craft your unique message and share it with the world. For a no-risk media evaluation and recommendations, call 7 2 4 3 2 0 22 12, or visit us online at www.coordinatedthreesixty.com. Find us also on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, or email info coordinated three sixty.com. Founded in 1991, bright Stripe has succeeded on the premises of quality work, done right at an affordable cost. At Bright Stripe personal service has always been a must. We strive to be the premier asphalt ceiling and striping company in the region. Matt George, the owner of Brights Stripe llc, brings experience from his construction and maintenance company, mountain Creek Construction and Maintenance. Matt has provided excellent customer service to many happy businesses and homeowners. Bright Stripe is the premier provider of seal coating or pavement ceiling. The process of applying a protective coating to asphalt based pavements to provide a layer of protection from the elements, water, oils, and UV damage. They also specialize in driveway and parking lot. Crack ceiling. Crack ceiling is the process of applying a protective coating to asphalt based pavements. Bright stripe also abides by all safety laws and standards in line striping and layout. For a no obligation estimate, contact Bright Stripe at 7 2 4 4 3 7 6 0 9 0. When it comes to buying a home, what you see isn't exactly what you get. That's why home buyers should call Dave Dowling At Grandview Inspections at 7 2 4 2 0 8 4 1 0 8. You'll see colorful flowers, freshly painted walls, granite countertops, blaming hardwood floors and other touches. What you can't see is the cracks, ancient plumbing, dangerous wiring, or broken appliances that might be revealed when you hire a home inspector. And when it comes to home inspectors, knowing yours has the qualifications and experience needed, should be your number one concern. Dave Dowling with Grandview Inspections is an architectural engineer with over 30 years of commercial construction experience and hundreds of inspections under his belt. A home inspection is an opportunity for you to hire an expert to walk through the home and prepare a report outlining the home's major components. What needs immediate attention and what will require maintenance after you move in Your home is one of your biggest investments. So make sure your investment is everything you hoped it to be. Call Dave Dowling at Grandview Inspections at 7 24 2 0 8 4 1 0 8. Are you enjoying the program? You're listening to support commonalities and help keep us on the air by making a donation of five, 10, or $25, or any amount you feel comfortable sharing [email protected] Again, that is donate.commonalities.online on the worldwide web. Buy our host a cup of coffee or help pay for airtime at donate dot commonalities online. Thanks for sticking with us here on commonalities. I'm your host Matt Dowling on w Nmb S five 90 am 1 0 1 0.1 fm. My guest today is John O'Brien with the Keystone Contractors Association and the General Contractors Association of Pennsylvania. John, before we went to the break, we were talking a little bit about new initiatives that, uh, were kind of born out of your experiences and your recent strategic plan that have to deal with, uh, with addressing the addiction issues that exist within the, uh, construction trades. Um, we wanted to come back from the break and talk a little bit about recruitment. And I understand that you're working with, uh, a high school here in Pennsylvania to get young people interested in the construction trades. Why don't you tell us a little bit about the work that you're doing with that. High school? Yeah, so probably about a year ago or so, I, I was talking to our board and I said it would be cool to have like a marketing contest just to see what high school kids come up with. Cuz you know, my whole experience and my whole career, it's, it's just me and carpenter training directors and other contractors going to high schools saying, oh, you should, you should help help the industry. You should work in the industry, you know, and this is a great career. You can help your family, you know, raise a family and retirement, blah, blah, blah. And I'm pretty sure it's in one ear out the other year when you go to those high school career fairs. Um, and I was saying to the board, I said, what if we have like a contest to see what, see what high school kids come up with? Like, what do they want to hear? And then, and then some just open, open forum to see what happens. And I said, well, I'll do some research. I'll ask around. So I started calling around to some local schools and some teachers, guidance counselors, and I connected with, uh, my kids go to Northern High School. I connected with their marketing and, and business teacher, Mr. Neon, great guy. And, and I, I told Jim my idea Jim Neon, I said, you know, it'd be great to somehow some sort of contest or just see what happens. And I, I, and he goes, well, let me, let me throw it out. Because Northern started something new this school year. They have, uh, activity groups after school. So there's a business group after school. And he goes, this is the first year we're doing this, so we need some sort of project to work on whenever we meet, you know, every, every other week or whatever. So he sat down with the students and said, Hey, the, the KCA approached us and they want to do something workforce related, and they want to see what ideas high school students come, can, uh, can come up with maybe some sort of contest and the best idea gets money or, or an iPad or something, you know. And, and this conversation happened back in like June or July, right after school let out. And then right before Thanksgiving, Mr. Neon calls me and he said, Hey, I want to give you an update on that project. And I, to be honest with you, I totally forgot about it. You know, it was a couple months later and I assumed it was, it was dead on arrival and no, not gonna move at all. And, and, uh, he goes, well, it's been great. You know, we spent the last couple months in school with our marketing group and we're talking about it, and we've come up with this idea where you feed us the benefits, you feed us, what you, what you think is best about reasons to enter the construction industry, and we're gonna put it in high school language. We're gonna put it on TikTok where kids see it, we're gonna put it on all the social media platforms and, and just get those messages out there. And, and then they told me this, and Oh, that's exciting. That's cool. You know, and then they're having different contests throughout the year. So if you sign up, they're randomly gonna select someone and get like some t-shirts or water bottles or something, something to get the kids excited or something. So on the phone, like, oh, that sounds awesome. That sounds cool. And I said, actually, we have a KCA event in a couple weeks. If you want to come and talk, talk there, that'd be great. You know, so we were at Dukes on the river, uh, about two or three weeks ago, right there. I know Warrensburg. And he brought four of his students, Mr. Mason and four students came, and there was a packed room of 70 plus construction professionals, and they arrived and, and the, the students were like, oh, we're a little nervous, you know, we didn't expect such a big crowd or whatever. But, but they rocked it. I mean, they were awesome. And they, they talked about how they're in the infancy of the program and they're building up their database, and it's gonna be a texting, like I said, it's gonna be social media. And I'm, I'm talking to him with them more and more to get more of the benefits out there. And then, and then they're spinning it and putting the, the high school language twist behind it. So. Well. That's, that's a fantastic idea. You, you kind of went direct to, uh, you know, to your target market and have them, um, giving you some great feedback on, um, on what you need to do and how best to connect with, uh, with that generation, that age group, that demographic. And, uh, it seems like you guys are, are doing some great work there. We have just, uh, about two to three minutes before our next break, but, uh, the next topic I wanted to segue into is mental health. And, uh, you know, we may have to, uh, pause this discussion for our last break of the episode, uh, and then come back. But tell me a little bit about what you're doing to address mental health issues within the industry. Um, I mean, to date, we've, I mean, we have a podcast, the Building PA podcast, and it'd be great to have you on as well. Um, but we've had, uh, some, sure, some renowned speakers from around, from around the country. Um, AGC is the largest association in America, associated General Contractors of America. They've, they've launched a mental health task force, and we've had that co-chair on there, this individual named Mandy Keim out of, uh, the state of Washington. She started constructions culture of care. And it's, it's just an awesome effort, just kind of like what I talked about with the stickers. It's, it's like, it's a way of opening up, you know, getting rid of the stigma associated with mental health issues and just letting people know it's okay to talk about it. Um, but yeah, currently you. You know, and, and if you think about, you think about the kind of guys, uh, or people that go into the construction industry, um, you know, the, the general profile that you would give wouldn't be someone who is a, uh, you know, these, sometimes these are burly men, uh, and, you know, they're not the kind of people that would go out and talk about the mental health issues that they have. Um, you know, I've, I've read, um, uh, read several studies and the, the individuals that go into construction work are actually at a relatively high rate of Yep. Of suicide as well. So I'm sure that mental health is, is a huge problem for the community. And listen, you know, I've, I've gone through, uh, in my own experiences, had my own issues. I've been open about, uh, my struggles with alcohol addiction and, uh, and have, you know, finally gotten those under control since, uh, since the June timeframe. Um, it, it's hard for men, especially that quote unquote alpha male to, uh, go to someone else, especially another man and say, you know what? I have a problem I need to talk about. And, uh, and, you know, I I just think that, that that's so important that you are kind of addressing the needs of mental health, because it's not something that people want to come out and, and talk to their coworkers about and, and say that they need help. So, um, you know, I didn't mean to cut you off, but I wanted to interject just, you know, how important, uh, mental health is, e especially with the demographic of, uh, of construction workers. Definitely. Yeah. I mean, um, you mentioned suicide. This, this stat will blow your mind. It, it blows my mind every time I hear and think about it, but one out of every nine field construction worker knows someone that committed suicide, has worked with someone that committed suicide. It's just, it's crazy. So it's definitely a big issue. And, you know, we've kind of just kind of thrown stuff out there to see what works, see what helps, whatever. But now this year we're trying to have more of a uniform approach and kind of a, you know, uniform approach, I guess is the best way to address it. So, plenty to, plenty to talk about, you know, after the break if you want. Sure. Well, we do have to get that break in and, uh, we will do so right now. When we come back, we'll continue our conversation with John O'Brien, with the Keystone Contractors Association and the General Contractor's Association of Pennsylvania. We're talking mental health in the construction field. Stay with us here on commonalities. You're listening to commonalities where guests find common ground through uncommon conversations. We'll be back after this brief break to recognize our sponsors. Is your business using analog strategies in a digital marketing world? If so, then contact Matthew or Rebecca Dowling at Coordinated 360 for a professional consultation where we bring in-depth knowledge and functional expertise with a holistic perspective. Coordinated 360 provides digital marketing, paid ed, and media buying services, web design, social media management, video production, and more for businesses, organizations, and political campaigns with decades of experience. Matt and Becky at Coordinated 360 can help you craft your unique message and share it with the world. For a no risk media evaluation and recommendations, call 7 2 4 3 2 0 22 12, or visit us online at www.coordinatedthreesixty.com. Find us also on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, or email info coordinated three sixty.com. Founded in 1991, bright Stripe has succeeded on the premises of quality work, done right at an affordable cost. At Bright Stripe personal service has always been a must. We strive to be the premier asphalt ceiling and striping company in the region. Matt George, the owner of Brights Stripe llc, brings experience from his construction and maintenance company, mountain Creek Construction and Maintenance. Matt has provided excellent customer service to many happy businesses and homeowners. Bright Stripe is the premier provider of seal coating or pavement ceiling. The process of applying a protective coating to asphalt based pavements to provide a layer of protection from the elements, water, oils, and UV damage. They also specialize in driveway and parking lot. Crack ceiling. Crack ceiling is the process of applying a protective coating to asphalt based pavements. Bright stripe also abides by all safety laws and standards in line striping and layout. For a no obligation estimate, contact Bright Stripe at 7 24 4 3 7 6 0 9 0. When it comes to buying a home, what you see isn't exactly what you get. That's why home buyers should call Dave Dowling At Grandview Inspections at 7 2 4 2 0 8 4 1 0 8. You'll see colorful flowers, freshly painted walls, granite countertops, gleaming hardwood floors, and other touches. What you can't see is the cracks, ancient plumbing, dangerous wiring, or broken appliances that might be revealed when you hire a home inspector. And when it comes to home inspectors, knowing yours has the qualifications and experience needed, should be your number one concern. Dave Dowling with Grandview Inspections is an architectural engineer with over 30 years of commercial construction experience and hundreds of inspections under his belt. A home inspection is an opportunity for you to hire an expert to walk through the home and prepare a report outlining the home's major components. What needs immediate attention and what will require maintenance after you move in Your home is one of your biggest investments. So make sure your investment is everything you hoped it to be. Call Dave Dowling at Grandview Inspections at 7 2 4 2 0 8 4 1 0 8. Are you enjoying the program? You're listening to support commonalities and help keep us on the air by making a donation of five, 10, or $25, or any amount you feel comfortable sharing [email protected] Again, that is donate.commonalities.online on the worldwide web. Buy our host a cup of coffee or help pay for airtime at donate dot commonalities online. Welcome back to Commonalities. I'm your host, Matt Dowling. Uh, my guest today is John O'Brien with the Keystone Contractors Association, also abbreviated as K C A, we're the General Contractors Association of Pennsylvania, gcap. And John, before the break, we were talking mental health in construction. So why don't, don't we go ahead and, uh, pick up the conversation where we. Sure. Yeah, like I was mentioning, um, you know, we've done some podcast episodes, we've done some seminars, all various stuff on, um, mental health issues, addiction recovery. We have the Construction Opioid Awareness Week, where we really talk about recovery and addiction, and it's beyond, it's called Opioid Awareness Week, but, you know, it kind of covers alcohol as well too, and other drugs and, um, but yeah, we, we've just kind of tried to supply a bunch of resources to employers in hopes that they'll get it to the workers and make it okay to talk about. Um, but this year, um, as part of our, uh, strategic plan, it's something that we really want to, uh, focus on and help out, and more of a concentrated effort, you know, to help out in the area of mental health. And we, we kind of broke it down the, the four key areas. Um, number one, understand it is important, you know, like, like you said before the break, it's a male dominated industry, tough guy industry over the years, you know, we don't talk about feelings. Uh, something's wrong just after work, grab a drink or something and get over it, you know, and just show up the next day. And, and that's the wrong way to look at life, you know? And, and that's not what future generations want, you know, future workers, they don't want that, you know, in, in current and older workers, they don't need that, you know, so just make sure the con construction community, the owners, the companies, make sure they know it's a big issue and, and they see it. Like I said, that one in nine before the break, one in nine construction workers know someone that committed suicide. So, so yeah, that's a big deal, you know, and one in 26 management knows someone on their staff that committed suicide. So it's, it touches everyone. Labor and management, not just people in the field. Um, just. You know, and in the, the construction industry is such a different culture. Uh, you know, it just for the listeners that may not know this, or, or for you if you don't know this, John, my my dad was partners, uh, in an industrial construction company. Uh, they did, uh, general contracting and uh, and construction management. And, uh, in my college years, that was my summer profession. Um, so I was out in the field, uh, normally mix and mud for, uh, for the guys that were, uh, were laying brick and so forth. Um, you know, the culture is just, it, it's, it's completely different. Um, these are individuals that really are, are great people that have a good heart. Um, it just expressing emotion is, uh, is very difficult within the culture. And that's something that I, I quickly realized, you know, and I was on that six until two 30 or three o'clock shift, uh, for a long time. And, you know, between three and five, when, when the Mrs gets home, um, you know, a a lot of my coworkers would, uh, would stop the bar and they spent their first couple hours off, um, there. So, you know, I, I know how, how this culture can really, uh, lend itself to, uh, to people with addiction issues and, and addiction ties directly into mental health, which is what we're, what we're talking about. So, um, you know, let, let's continue our conversation on campus. Yeah. And you mentioned there are good people. I mean, you won't find better hearts. I don't think so in any industry. I mean, it's just amazing all the giving back to communities and all the volunteer efforts. It's awesome. So, um, but yeah, number one, understanding it's important. You know, number two is raising awareness. Um, couple ways we're doing that is, you know, we're creating job site posters that has numbers, you know, phone numbers for outreach, you know, veteran assistants, you know, cause a lot of veterans, um, you know, have a lot of mental health issues as well. And that's another group of people that sometimes keep their emotions in check and don't like to talk about it too much. But that simple little thing, like a job site poster is a way to attack the stigma and a way to let people know, Hey, I guess it's, you know, it's, it's okay to talk, you know, it's okay, but it's okay not to be okay. You know, this is just one little way that, and, uh, we have toolbox talks. Our association, we send, uh, every Monday morning at 6:00 AM we send toolbox talks, uh, to, to our members. Um, you know, OSHA requires them on some projects or whatever, but it's a, a thing that we do weekly and we're working in a lot of, uh, working in a lot of toolbox talks on mental health and suicide and addiction, whatever, just to keep the conversation going and letting people know it's okay to talk about it. Um, and then as also raise awareness. Make sure people know about EAPs, you know, employee assistant programs and just let 'em know the, the employer, the company's here for you. Just make sure, make sure that's a known track, you know. And step three is kind of just looking internally. Um, there's some really awesome self-assessment tools online. You know, one being, uh, man therapy, which I, which I like. And every few months I've, I've gone to the website and it is just a way to recharge yourself and just kind of figure out what's going on. And it, it delivers it in a, in a non-serious way. I think a lot of the self-assessment tools would quickly turn off the construction workforce cuz it's so, it's so straight laced, you know, just kind of no nonsense. Um, so we offer kind of both tools. We send out the email links to all the companies, give out to their employers, out to their employees, and just kind of, one is more straight laced. One is just just the facts, man, you know, and then if you go to Man therapy, which I could send you the link afterwards, and it's, it's comical, it's kind of funny, but it delivers a very strong and impactful message. Um, so it could turn some people off not thinking it's a serious issue, but it's just the way to reach different audiences. So looking internally is, is important, you know, from company owners all the way down to the employees. Um, and through those first three steps, um, you know, I think, I think you'll see, and we hope what will happen is people talk more. And then within companies, we have a mental health task force, and we're going to meet every month. And, and from all this outreach, the task force is going to devise plans and strategies and what educational tools are needed. We're definitely not gonna reinvent the wheel. There's tons of great resources out there from groups like National Safety Council, and even my old Work Master Builders Association. They're doing a great job on this, in this area. So we're gonna promote those good tools that they have and, and for what's missing, we're gonna create that resource or create that educational program. Just think there's lots of work to do and these, these workers give it their all and they do their everything they can to build Pennsylvania, and we need to be there for that. Absolutely. Absolutely. And, and that's, uh, important information to get out. I think those job site posters, uh, will be great because we're talking about substance abuse and mental health. I wanted to to also mention that there is, uh, a new, um, crisis and suicide lifeline, uh, three digit number that people can call. So if you or someone you know are in a crisis situation, that number is 9 88. And that was just activated this last year throughout the United States. So again, 9 88 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. That is through the Substance abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Um, uh, best way to to think of their acronym is SAM hsa, and you can go to sam hsa.gov for more information. John, we're just down to the last 60 seconds here in the program today. Why don't you give us any final thought. You made? Uh, I'm just glad you mentioned the 9 88. I mean, we put it on our website and, and they, they got that out in the fall and I was, I was, oh, let's do all this mental outreach and all this campaign. Let's do that in 2023. And then knowing that the holidays were coming and it's a very stressful time, you know, we really pushed it forward and really did a lot of work in November, December, just, just in time for the holidays. Um, and did hear back from a few, a few labor members, labor friends, and we're appreciative that we're getting these resources out there, the self-assessment tools and, and, uh, you know, it's a serious issue and we're gonna keep plugging away and we're just wanna help the industry. Yeah. Well, hey, thank you so much for making some time for me here, John, uh, right after the holidays. Uh, my guest today has been John O'Brien with K C A, the Keystone Asso Contractors Association and gcap General Contractors Association of Pennsylvania. Wanna thank you again for being on the show. You guys are doing important work, uh, within the field of construction, not just to recruit young people, uh, to help build a better Pennsylvania, but to, uh, also address the issues that the industry sees with mental health and addiction. It's, uh, been a great conversation. You too. You have a great day now. Take care, Matt. Thanks. This has been commonalities, a show where guests find common ground through uncommon conversations. Copyright 2022 coordinated 360. All public rebroadcast should be done with prior written approval from Matthew Dowling. All requests should be sent to [email protected] Thank you for listening to commonalities.

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