On Sept. 25, the Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention (Alliance) held its first strategic planning session in Washington, D.C. Formed two years ago by the Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA), the mission of the Alliance is to provide and disseminate information and resources for suicide prevention and mental health promotion in construction.

During strategic planning, nearly 30 representatives from 17 Alliance member organizations and the Board of Trustees created a framework for the future by forming governance, fundraising, education, and marketing task forces. The Board of Trustees will be led by Chairman Michelle Walker (Specialized Services Co.), Vice Chairman Keith Vitkovich (United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers & Allied Workers), Treasurer Brad Robinson (Lendlease), and Secretary Steve Tenney (Story Construction Co.), and includes Greg Sizemore (Associated Builders and Contractors), Edmund McCombs (Lendlease), and Tracey Fenolio (FCL Builders).

According to Chairman Michelle Walker, “The action-oriented outcome and collaboration among all who were present at the strategic planning meeting clearly demonstrated the construction industry’s ability to come together to create great things. With the engagement and commitment of Alliance members on focused task forces, we are well on our way to effectively equipping companies to reduce the risk of suicide and impact of mental illness in construction.”

This meeting coincided with National Suicide Prevention Month and a flurry of supportive activity throughout the construction industry. On Sept. 13, 2018, FCL Builders hosted its third annual Charity Casino Night, and nearly $144,000 was generously donated to further the efforts of the Alliance.

In addition, FCL Builders and Lendlease have both joined as contractor members of the Alliance. As noted by Andrew Council, Managing Director of the Americas Construction business, “At Lendlease, we’ve prioritized mental wellbeing and suicide prevention within our company and safety culture. By remaining diligent, adaptable, and proactive in our approach, we are excited to work alongside the Alliance to make strides in mental health and to extend our reach and impact in the industry.”

Of significant importance has been the recent addition of North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) as an Alliance member. NABTU is an alliance of 14 national and international unions that collectively represent three million workers across all aspects of the building trades, including Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA), International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), United Association – Union of Plumbers, Fitters, Welders and Service Techs (UA), and United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers & Allied Workers. The support of NABTU will greatly assist the Alliance in achieving its mission.

CFMA President & CEO Stuart Binstock added, “We are humbled by the industry’s strong support of this initiative to save the lives of our most valued resources – our human capital. CFMA will remain as committed as ever to this cause and continue to champion the efforts of the Alliance and the astounding work, present and future, of its members who represent all aspects of the construction industry.”