Inaugural Suicide Prevention Summit Brings Together Construction Industry Leaders and Mental Health Professionals

Contact: Fern Oram (foram@cfma.org; 609.945.2494)

Phoenix, AZ, April 7, 2016
—The Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA) Valley of the Sun Chapter recently presented the inaugural Suicide Prevention Summit, a collaboration between construction and local and national mental health professionals discussing suicide prevention for the construction industry. Designed for construction industry CEOs, CFOs, Human Resource professionals, and Safety and Risk managers, the event provided a wealth of knowledge and resources to more than 100 industry professionals.

Building a World-Class Safety Culture
“National data shows that men are four times more likely to die by suicide than women, and Arizona's numbers mirror this statistic,” explained Sandra McNally of EMPACT-Suicide Prevention Center. "It is wonderful to see the construction industry's concern about the issue of suicide in their field."

Keynote speaker Dr. Sally Spencer-Thomas, CEO and Co-Founder of the Carson J. Spencer Foundation, mental health advocate and survivor of her brother’s suicide, offered, “In 2014, I keynoted at a construction industry mental health conference in Brisbane, Australia, and dreamt one day we might replicate this effort in the US. The leadership of the CFMA Valley of the Sun Chapter made that dream a reality. I am so honored to present again and let all know that everyone has a role in suicide prevention.”

Speaking Out about Suicide
Cal Beyer, Director of Risk Management at Lakeside Industries and Executive Committee member of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, lauded, “The overwhelming support from sponsors and the strong participation by contractors reinforces this is a topic whose time has come. Great strides have been made in breaking the wall of silence around mental health and suicide prevention. The construction industry workforce is at risk and contractors want to learn how to build a caring culture to help their employees get the assistance they need to cope with life struggles. I've never been more proud to be a CFMA member.”

Summit attendees heard personal stories of loss, participated in a panel discussion, connected with community mental health professionals, and took away resources to help promote mental health and suicide prevention as part of their companies’ overall wellness initiatives.

“The Valley of the Sun Chapter was honored to accept the challenge of organizing this inaugural Suicide Prevention Summit. The education and sharing by speakers and attendees provided a dramatic first step for our industry to move past the stigma associated with the mental health of our employees,” noted David James, CFMA Valley of the Sun former Chapter President. “CFMA has shown, once again, its tremendous value to our industry, our companies, and our employees.”

Coverage of the event can be viewed at https://katch.me/carolhagen/c/2016-cfma-suicide-prevention-summit or followed on social media with #SuicidePreventionCFMA.

Stuart Binstock, CFMA’s President and CEO added, “We applaud the efforts of Cal Beyer and our Valley of the Sun Chapter in putting together a transformational program for the construction industry. Our members are stewards of the financial health of their organizations. Nothing is more important to a construction company than protecting and supporting its most valuable asset:  human capital. CFMA is proud to be at the forefront of this important initiative.”

About CFMA Valley of the Sun Chapter
For over 25 years, the Valley of the Sun Chapter of the Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA) has been essential to the success and growth of construction in the Phoenix market. CFMA VOS provides advocacy, education and networking opportunities for its members. Chapter members strive to invest in their community through involvement in industry related issues and charitable endeavors. Visit vos.cfma.org/valleyofthesun for more information.

About CFMA
CFMA, headquartered in Princeton, NJ, is an individual membership organization and the only association dedicated to bringing together construction financial professionals and those partners serving their unique needs. CFMA provides invaluable resources and education to its more than 7,500 members via the headquarters office and 92 chapters across North America. In cooperation with its affiliate organization, the Institute of Certified Construction Industry Financial Professionals (ICCIFP), CFMA promotes industry best practices and continuing education in support of its mission: To be essential to the growth and success of construction financial professionals. Visit www.cfma.org for more information.