Last week Timberline commemorated Construction Suicide Prevention Week – a week dedicated to raising awareness about the higher-than-average number of suicides in the construction industry. In conjunction with our employee health partner, O2X Human Performance, we hosted an interactive mental health presentation to educate our people on the topic while providing helpful tips to keep stress in check on and off the job.

Laurie Craigen, an O2X Clinical Resilience Specialist and an Associate Professor in the Mental Health Counseling and Behavioral Medicine Program at Boston University, spoke to our team about what it means to build resilience, as resilience not only helps us cope with stress, traumatic events and adversity but also plays a critical role in suicide prevention. Our team talked about the differences between ‘surviving’ and ‘thriving’ – what it is to go through the daily motions vs. living life to the fullest. For those stuck in survival mode, Laurie provided some helpful practices to tap into a healthier mindset:

  1. Mindfulness: Bring your attention to the present moment. Focus on a singular object to get rid of environmental distractions and observe your thoughts & feelings.
  2. Breathing: Concentrate on filling your diaphragm as you take a deep breath in through the nose for a count of three. Exhale through the mouth for another count of three. Repeat.
  3. Muscle relaxation: Scan your body and release tension slowly and purposefully, one muscle group at a time.
  4. Breaks: Just five minutes of quiet between meetings can be enough time to give yourself a reset. Breaks boost brain power and productivity in the long run.
  5. Journaling: Writing down your thoughts can be therapeutic and put your mind at rest.
  6. Yoga: Any type of movement is good for your body and for your mind. Yoga can be especially restorative.

With these helpful tools in hand, we can help keep stress at bay and get one step closer to ‘thriving.’ In addition to the techniques above, our team learned coping skills for high-pressure situations, strategies to improve communication and relationships, and ways to manage anxiety to ensure a strong, lasting career here at Timberline. Lastly, we discussed the signs of acute and chronic stress, and how to determine when it’s time to seek outside help.

In building resilience tools and tackling stress head-on, we put ourselves in a better position to maintain our mental health and assist in suicide prevention. Thank you to Laurie and the O2X team for an impactful presentation – we look forward to putting these techniques into practice on the job and in our everyday lives.

For more about Construction Suicide Prevention Week and a list of mental health resources please check out