Mental Health Overview

CSNS mental health focus

Health and safety isn’t just about the physical, it’s psychological, too. CSNS is committed to shifting attitudes in the sector towards mental health.

Construction workers have been identified as one of the top three occupational groups at an increased risk of suicide and overall poor mental health. Stigma surrounding mental health continues to exist in male dominated industries where men are generally not encouraged to talk about their feelings. The combination of both industry factors and personal factors can put construction workers at a higher risk of mental health issues.

Industry Factors                                                                                                                                           Personal Factors

“Tough guy” mentality Relationship problems
Project deadlines Financial stress
Physical demands Traumatic life events
Seasonal employment Alcohol or drug use
Low knowledge of mental health issues Feeling embarrassed

Our plans

We provide resources for construction companies looking to do more to support their workers by:

  • Engaging with the construction industry to raise awareness and increase education around mental health.
  • Investing in peer support leadership training for construction workers who have personal experience with mental health issues and encouraging identification of mental health champions on construction sites. (Click here for more information on peer support).
  • Supporting construction sector employers in their journey to creating safe, accepting, and supportive meeting spaces for workers wanting to learn and converse about mental health, and/or participate in traditional peer support groups.
  • Collaboratively working with industry to help guide the design and delivery of new offerings for mental health awareness and support.

Get involved
Whether it be general brainstorming or more hands-on involvement, we want to hear from you!

  • Are you a mental health champion in construction?
  • Do you have insight about the realities of mental health in the construction industry?
  • Do you have thoughts on the types of offerings you would like to see from us?
  • Are you interested in becoming a peer support facilitator?
  • Are you willing to share your lived experience with others to raise awareness?

Contact us
If you answered yes to any of these questions, reach out to schedule a short meeting to discuss how you can get involved.
Kyla Porter
OHS Advisor

Mental Health vs. Mental Illness – What’s the difference?

Many people use the terms “mental health” and “mental illness” interchangeably, when really, they mean different things. Mental health is defined as the state of our psychological and emotional well-being. It is a necessary resource for living a healthy life and a main factor in overall health. It influences how we think and feel about ourselves and others, how we interpret events, and deal with the normal stresses of life. It affects our capacity to learn, communicate, and form, sustain, or end relationships. Justas we all have physical health, we all have mental health, too.

Good mental health allows you to feel, think, and act in ways that help you enjoy life and effectively cope with its challenges. It includes having a sense of purpose and self, as well as strong relationships and connections. Your mental health can be positively or negatively influenced by factors such as life experiences, relationships with others, work environment, physical health, and community. Maintaining good mental health can help reduce the risk of developing mental health issues or illnesses.

Need help now? Call the Nova Scotia mental health and addictions crisis line:

Mental illness describes the reduced ability for a person to function effectively over a prolonged period due to factors such as significant levels of stress , changes in thinking, mood, or behaviour, feelings of isolation, loneliness, or sadness, and the feeling of being disconnected from people and activities. Mental illness is not the same as feeling temporarily distressed because of normal reactions to difficult situations. Most of us can regain control of our lives after a difficult situation, even if we are experiencing poor mental health. People with mental illness feel distress regularly and may not be able to cope with the simplest aspects of everyday life.

While poor mental health can contribute to mental illness, it is important to understand that mental health and mental illness are not the same thing. Mental health is not simply the absence of a diagnosed mental illness and living with a mental illness does not mean you can not have good mental health. One in five people in Canada will experience a mental health issue or illness in any given year. But five in five of us have mental health.


  • In 2020, depression became the leading cause of disability worldwide.
  • 500,000 people are unable to work in any given week because of a mental health distress.
  • 1 in 3 Canadians (33.3%) will be affected by a mental illness during their lifetime.
  • 70% of disability costs are attributed to mental illness.
  • About 4,000 Canadians per year die by suicide—an average of almost 11 suicides a day.