The American Heart Association and local sponsor Collins Electrical Company are tackling the mental well-being of craftsmen wearing hard hats with the Heart Initiative

In May, the American Heart Association, the world’s leading non-profit organization focused on heart and brain health for all, and local sponsor Collins Electrical Company, Inc. are working together to support the mental well-being of artisans through through the Hard Hats with Heart initiative.

Careers in the construction industry are hard work. They are physically and mentally demanding, require early start times, long hours, strenuous activity, and often eat what is at hand rather than what is healthy. The American Heart Association’s Hard Hats with Heart initiative engages industrial workers and inspires them to live longer, healthier lives.

In a recent employee survey of more than 10 Hard Hats with Heart member companies, mental health was a top concern. Mental well-being includes emotional, psychological and social well-being. It can affect how a person thinks, feels, and acts. It also helps determine how a person handles stress, relates to others, and makes choices. After the past two years of isolation, uncertainty and other adjustments, mental well-being is more important than ever. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, one in five adults in the United States experience mental illness in any given year, and research shows that mental wellbeing has been significantly affected by the pandemic. Mental health is a growing concern in the construction industry, as it ranks second in suicide deaths among major industries according to a 2020 study.

As a founding member of Hard Hats with Heart, Collins Electrical Company, Inc. has prioritized supporting the mental well-being of its employees by providing resources, connections to mental health professionals, and offering presentations on the link between mental well-being and heart health in the American Heart Association at local worksites.

“As a business owner, it is my duty to provide as many resources as possible to support the mental and emotional well-being of my team. As someone who lives with anxiety, I want to be one of these resources by being open about my journey and serving as a source of support,” said Brian Gini, co-CEO of Collins Electrical Company, Inc., and Hard Hats with Heart member. Life pressures can have a terrible impact on heart and brain health and lead to life-threatening events. Hard Hats with Heart supports the unique emotional needs of artisans by providing them with tools to help them better understand the stressors in their lives so they can deal with them in healthy ways.

Poor mental well-being can lead a person to seek relief in unhealthy habits such as smoking, drinking, or eating fatty foods. Research also shows that there could also be physiological links. The biological and chemical factors that trigger mental health problems could also influence heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends discussing how you feel, both physically and mentally, with your healthcare provider. They can help you or refer you to the most appropriate care or provide you with the best starting point.

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