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Area construction leaders to observe Opioids and Suicide Prevention Awareness Week Sept. 8-11

KANSAS CITY, Mo., Aug. 27, 2020 – A regional coalition of construction industry stakeholders is taking steps to reduce the rate of suicides and opioid dependence among workers.

The MO/KAN Suicide Prevention Task Force will observe its inaugural Opioids and Suicide Prevention Awareness week Sept. 8-11, opening conversations and sharing resources surrounding a different topic each day.

Topic schedule:

    Tuesday, Sept. 8 – Opioid awareness
    Wednesday, Sept. 9 – Suicide prevention
    Thursday, Sept. 10 – COVID-19 virus
    Friday, Sept. 11 – Mental health resources

“The task force was created in 2018 to address the high rates of suicide in our industry, and together with the OSHA Kansas City Area Office held its first Suicide Prevention Stand Down last November,” said Phil Shoemaker, Safety, Health and Environmental Services Director at The Builders' Association. “This year, we’ve dedicated an entire week to these initiatives, and we’re hopeful to see them grow outside the region into nationally recognized events.”

The Builders’ Association member and task force participant McCownGordon implements training for all personnel on recognizing suicide warning signs and giving assistance to employees in need, according to Brian Schrader, Director of Risk Management.

“The MCG team continues to bring this topic to the forefront through stand downs, toolbox meetings, lunch and learns, and other methods,” he said. “We strive to develop a corporate culture that makes each team member feel confident that they can reach out to anyone at any time.”

Schrader said the construction industry has seen more than its fair share of the workforce struggle with suicide and drugs.

“However, I believe the industry has recognized the concern and is providing the resources to address our associates’ needs,” he said.

The Builders’ Association will present a virtual town hall Tuesday, Sept. 8 at 10:30 a.m. CDT in conjunction with Opioids and Suicide Prevention Awareness Week.

Part of the “Builders’ Talk” series, the town hall will provide suicide prevention resources and action steps for organizations.

Panelists include Cal Beyer, Vice President, Workforce Risk and Worker Wellbeing for CSDZ; John S. Gaal, Retired Director of Training and Workforce Development for the St. Louis-Kansas City Carpenters Regional Council; and Venessa D. Abram, Executive Director of Self-Discovery PPP. Kiona Sinks, Founder of Elevate Consulting, will moderate.

Beyer said it’s time to ‘look under the hardhat’ and focus on the holistic well-being of workers.

“Construction is a high-risk industry with more suicides each year than all occupational fatalities combined,” he said. “By talking about mental health and suicide prevention in the workplace, we can reduce stigma and increase help-seeking.”

To register for the town hall, visit

About the Builders’ Association

The Builders’ Association is committed to improving people’s lives through construction. Builders’ is a nonprofit trade association on a mission to advance the industry and the broader community by delivering safety, craft and management training; employment, labor and government relations; and construction plans and technology tools. Four service and training centers operate in Kansas City, Jefferson City and Springfield. Serving mid-America for well over a century, the association’s hundreds of member companies employ over 25,000 people. As a catalyst for collaboration, Builders’ connects passionate people and businesses.

About the Kansas City Chapter, Associated General Contractors of America

The association’s sister organization, the Kansas City Chapter, Associated General Contractors of America, currently represents 120 firms in the heartland region and is part of the AGC of America, the largest and oldest national construction trade association in the United States.

Visit The Builders’ Association online at and connect with them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.