Oilpatch workers susceptible due to nature of job

There’s a correlation between unemployment and suicide rates

The inherent nature of working in Alberta’s oilpatch does put men at risk for suicide, said Robert Olson, who is with the Centre for Suicide Prevention based in Calgary.

There are known risks in the male-oriented oil industry, he said.

The transient population, where a lot of workers come in from elsewhere, means there are fewer social supports and less stability. This makes workers more susceptible to depression and loneliness. They often work in isolation, have a lot of money and access to abusive substances, Olson said.

Though not directly related, there is a strong correlation between unemployment and the suicide rate, he said.

A downturn in the economy can put oilpatch workers at even greater risk, and for men, there’s still that stigma and “macho” resistance to getting help.

“We’re stoic and self-sufficient, and unfortunately all these different factors coming at an individual may have compiled, and when one more event is piled on … you’ve just had enough.”

Preliminary suicide statistics for 2016 show that 460 people took their lives in Alberta. Of this, 353 were male and 107 were female. For males, the highest numbers were in the 50-to-54 age category (41), then the 40-to-44 age category (38).

The number of Alberta suicides spiked dramatically in 2015, when 662 people killed themselves. This included 493 males and 169 females. In 2014, there were 542 suicides; 535 in 2013; and 507 in 2012.

Alberta’s suicide rates are usually higher than the rest of Canada.

Olson said there will be a clearer perspective on suicide numbers after the 2017 statistics become available next year. Whether they will reflect a downward trend, or 2015 is more the new reality in a still stagnant oilfield economy is yet to be determined, he said.

Organizations such as the Centre for Suicide Prevention are continuing to work at encouraging men to seek help they need earlier on, he said.

If you or someone you know needs help, here are some resources:

l Centre for Suicide Prevention in Calgary website suicideinfo.ca

l Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention website suicideprevention.ca

l Alberta Health Services Mental Health Helpline 1-877-303-2642

barr@reddeeradvocate.com

Just Posted

Mothers Against Drunk Driving hold candlelight vigil

Four-and-a-half years ago Marilyn Rinas’ husband was killed in a collision with… Continue reading

Thousands expected at memorial for fallen police officer in Abbotsford, B.C.

ABBOTSFORD, B.C. — The streets of Abbotsford, B.C., will be lined with… Continue reading

One person dead, five others injured in early-morning crash in Kingston, Ont.

KINGSTON, Ont. — A man who was checking the damage on his… Continue reading

Gus is a special, collaborative art exhibit inspired by motherhood

The portrait display by mother and son is showing in Red Deer

Robotics challenge sparks student interest in Red Deer

Student-built robots compete in fun challenge

Chicken crosses B.C. road, stops traffic

Rooster makes early morning commuters wait in Maple Ridge

Red Deerian honours her brother who died in a motorcycle collision

Houaida Haddad is encouraging Red Deer residents to donate blood

Red Deer County firefighters to be recognized for Waterton help

RCMP brass will give formal recognition Monday

Ron James tries to lighten humanity’s load through humour

The comedian returns to Red Deer for shows Dec. 1 and 2

100+ Women Red Deer donate to Christmas Bureau

About $14,000 will help with Christmas hampers and toys

Semi collides with vehicle on Highway 2 north of Ponoka

Members of the Ponoka Integrated Traffic Unit dealt with a call on Highway 2 north of Ponoka

After 70 years, Red Deer veteran still remembers his traumatic war experience

Frank Krepps feels lucky to have survived the Second World War

Merritt Mountie charged with assault

Charges are in relation to an incident in May at the detachment, B.C. Prosecution Service said

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month