This story started, as many do, with a single conversation. A fired-up remodeler approached us with a need to spark more conversation on mental health in construction. He revealed his own journey, insights, and data, which cement the tragic consequences of retaining the taboo behind talking about mental health. (If you want to read his perspective, go to "Time for the Tides to Change.") It’s so clear when put in front of you: Construction has a severe mental health problem.
That crucial conversation last summer fueled a fire to tell the stories of industry members, share the data, and publicize how some professionals are addressing the problem.
We clearly need to talk about it—the largely unspoken reality, the silent killer, the one thing that needs to be discussed. (Yeah, I bolded words. I mean business here.)
But just as powerful as the desire to start this piece was the fear that nobody in remodeling would speak
Candidly with me about mental health. I am so glad that fear turned out to be unfounded.
Along this journey, I found many new sources completely organically. I had an abundance of conversations that left me with goosebumps or provided insights that shined a light on yet another aspect of this complex and nuanced topic.
THIS IS A STORY ABOUT YOU, WHETHER YOU KNOW IT OR NOT
And with that, I thank all who courageously shared their highly personal stories. The contributions of the many industry members I spoke with put flesh and blood onto this piece, and without their honesty and selflessness, this story would not have been possible.
But it goes even deeper than that. The truth is, as a member of the remodeling industry, you’re a part of this story too, whether you’re mentioned by name or not. Whether you read this far into this column or not. Whether you threw the magazine away or closed the browser, shaking your head at the silliness of a trade publication talking about feelings.
This story is about you. And it’s for you.
IF IT’S HARD TO TALK ABOUT, WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT IT
One thing I truly admire about Pro Remodeler is our team’s willingness to dive into impactful topics people don’t always want to address.
We’re a business publication, but the lines between personal and professional have become blurred today, and it would be a disservice to ignore that reality.
Our commitment to sharing the stories that too often remain untold has sometimes resulted in letters of thanks and support, and other times, anger and requests to unsubscribe.
Examples include a column published last year by Michael Anschel, a remodeler who shared the importance of stopping offensive language on jobsites. Or our three-part series on addiction in the industry by former Managing Editor James McClister. Or the rawness of our Director of Content Erika Mosse, who shared a tragic loss, resulting in her name change. Or hosting panels on personal well-being in the workplace at our events. Or our ongoing efforts that highlight the importance of increasing the number of women in remodeling.
IT ALL STARTS WITH YOU
This article started with a remodeler—it started with you. And it should continue with you.
If you read this piece, you will learn that there are proven actions business leaders can take to positively influence the mental and emotional well-being of their team. This is currently being done in the residential construction industry in many ways—it’s not one size fits all. The key, though, is starting at the top. Don’t underestimate the power you as a business owner or manager can have on the personal lives of your employees. And before that trickle down can happen, you must tend to your own personal well-being as well.
I hope that you can find a connection to this article, and take away actionable pieces for your own well-being and for those around you. We need to take care of who we have in the industry today in order to attract more people for the future.
It’s not an immediate change. It’s slow, it’s slightly painful, and it’s slightly ugly, but people are doing it. You can too. We need to talk about it, and we need to be examples.