The Courage To Speak Up Is Powerful
Thank you to ESS Safety Manager, Evaristo Gonzales for sharing his own story about mental health. Employee-owners step up!
“Through years of experience and working in very tough work environments, I have become fully aware of the importance of identifying mental related issues amongst our fellow employees. Unlike physical injuries, it is difficult to spot many of the symptoms that people may be experiencing internally, such as depression or even suicidal thoughts. Our industry is very fast paced, with long hours, very competitive and our working environment can change dramatically at the drop of a dime. This can sometimes leave employees vulnerable to mental health related issues. Much like the construction industry, life in the military exposed me to working in high strenuous work environments with time away from family, missing out on life changing events and even suffering sudden loss. In this experience, I witnessed my own mental health strength dwindling. Some of the most common symptoms that I experienced included endless feelings of hopelessness, where nothing I did seemed to be enough to carry me on to the next milestone, or the feeling of loneliness, even in a crowded room with friends and co-workers. This had a major impact on my productivity at work and even homelife.
Through these struggles, I found the strength I needed by reaching out to family and friends, finding creative ways to balance work and family life, getting plenty of rest, reducing my alcohol intake, and even enlisting some professional help. As a father and a husband, my family’s well-being is highly dependent on my ability to maintain a healthy and productive lifestyle, including mental health. To me, it is very important, as Employee-Owners, to be aware of those contributing factors, and be aware of the signs and symptoms that our fellow employees may be experiencing and encourage them to reach out for help.”