by Rachel Reichel, MS, CEAS, NREMT, LAT, ATC
and Katie Ringenary, MS, LAT, ATC

As industrial athletes, we weave through a spectrum of daily encounters from a loving family member, to a helpful neighbor, a familiar coffee shop barista, a friendly gym buddy, and a compassionate work colleague. Even within this network of five individuals, it’s a startling reality that at least one may be navigating the challenges of mental health. Beyond statistics, our commitment is to cultivate a workplace where safety, support, and awareness flourish and injuries are prevented! Let’s examine the vital intersection of mental health and suicide awareness, forging a resilient community that stands united, shattering stigmas, and extending a supportive hand to those in need.

Mental Health

Mental illness can range from mild to severe and can affect numerous aspects of a person such as a person’s mood, behavior, and/or thought processes. Educate yourself on how you can help a co-worker, a loved one, or yourself to get the help needed.

Signs & Symptoms of Mental Health Struggles

To identify struggles with mental health, observe changes in eating habits, sleeping patterns, and detect signs of unusual behavior. Low energy, mood changes, and difficulties in performing daily tasks are additional cues. For those struggling, support involves open communication, connecting with supervisors or family, and providing educational resources.

For immediate help, contacting a primary care provider, discussing options with health insurance companies, and utilizing SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP are valuable resources. Additionally, reaching out to national, state, or county agencies can provide further assistance.

Suicide Awareness

Further than generalized mental health struggles, studies have shown that suicide rates tend to be the highest in males working in the industrial setting, specifically in natural resource mining, construction, automotive repair, agriculture, and warehousing. Recognizing the signs of suicidal ideation, such as increased substance abuse, giving away personal items, buying a weapon, or unjustified goodbyes becomes paramount.

How Can You Help?

Supporting someone in crisis involves direct, compassionate conversations: asking about suicidal thoughts, expressing concern, and being physically present. Check out this Suicide Prevention and Awareness postcard to guide you in the right direction. Remember, asking if someone is considering suicide does not plant the idea!

For immediate assistance, call or text 988. You can also text NAMI to 741-741 for free crisis counseling. Additional resources include the Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE and, for disaster or tragedy, calling 1-800-985-5990 connects to crisis counseling centers within the network.

Rachel Reichel, MS, CEAS II, NREMT, LAT, ATC || Rachel received her Bachelor’s Degree in Athletic Training in 2017 from Dakota Wesleyan University before graduating from North Dakota State University with her Master’s Degree in Advanced Athletic Training in 2019. She has worked in the collegiate, military, and industrial settings in the 7 years as an athletic trainer. In her free time, Rachel loves reading a good book, cuddling with her doggo, going on hikes, or horseback riding.

Katie Ringenary, MS, LAT, ATC || Katie Ringenary has been a Certified Athletic Trainer since 2014. Graduating from Rowan University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Athletic Training and from Keystone College with her Master’s Degree in Sports Management, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends and is an avid Philadelphia sports fan!

Be sure to check out our other blogs for further injury prevention education and tips for the industrial athlete from Work Right NW!