You may ask yourself why some people struggle with mental illness while others don’t. The first step to being more aware of your mental health is understanding the factors that affect it.

What are stressors?

A stressor is a physiological or psychological condition that impairs mental function and performance. Physiological stressors directly affect your body, such as extreme heat or cold, pain, chronic illness, or injury. On the construction site, workers will often experience long workdays full of physically strenuous work.

Psychological stressors include anything that you perceive as negative or threatening. Because everyone is different, psychological stressors are specific to the individual experiencing them. Construction workers will often have to deal with a heavy workload, job insecurity, and extended time away from family, which can become psychologically stressful for them.

What are risk factors?

Risk factors include anything from a person’s background that contributes to mental illness. Don’t worry; just because you have a risk factor present does not mean you will automatically develop a mental disorder. It just means you have to take greater care of your mental health.

The following sections address major risk factors to be aware of.

What does it mean if mental illness runs in my family?

You are not guaranteed to develop a mental disorder because mental illness runs in your family. In fact, being aware of your family history is a good thing. It can help you and your doctor prepare to prevent you from developing mental illness. Controlling other risk factors is key in this case.

How does my financial status relate to risk factors?

Socioeconomic factors, meaning things like unemployment, poverty, or a lack of affordable housing can affect your mental health. Those living lower on the socioeconomic ladder are more at risk of developing mental illness.

What environmental factors should I be aware of?

Experiencing trauma, exposure to toxins (such as lead), abuse, or strains in your relationship with your significant other or family can affect your mental health. Things like death, divorce, or major life changes like a new job can also become stressors for you.

What does my childhood have to do with this?

ACEs are traumatic or stressful events that took place in your childhood. These events continue to impact your mental health now. Things like abuse, neglect, household dysfunction, or witnessing domestic violence are examples of ACEs that relate to the development of mental illness.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental illness or suicidal thoughts, don’t hesitate to contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. There is no reason for anyone to suffer in silence.

If you would like more information on mental health and suicide prevention, visit our website. We also have a training about opioid awareness.

Good luck and stay safe!

This blog post is part of our ongoing series covering suicide prevention in the construction industry. Stay tuned for posts on recognizing the signs and symptoms of suicide; myths and misconceptions; a