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

Rachel Notley is coming to Red Deer

Speaking at campaign office

UPDATED: Economy and health care expected to be hot election topics

Premier Rachel Notley makes announcement on Tuesday morning

Calgary woman convicted in son’s strep death seeking full parole

CALGARY — A woman convicted in her son’s death after she failed… Continue reading

Canadian women earn significantly less in pay, bonuses and profit sharing: study

TORONTO — Canadian women are paid 25 per cent less than men… Continue reading

UK’s May asks EU to delay Brexit until June 30

LONDON — Prime Minister Theresa May formally asked the European Union on… Continue reading

Canadian pair fifth after short program at figure skating worlds

SAITAMA, Japan — Canada’s Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro are fifth after… Continue reading

Director Kim Nguyen tackles financial ‘madness’ in ‘The Hummingbird Project’

TORONTO — As Quebec filmmaker Kim Nguyen tells it, “The Hummingbird Project”… Continue reading

What Disney gets as its $71.3B buy of Fox assets closes

It’s finally complete. Disney closed its $71 billion acquisition of Fox’s entertainment… Continue reading

Opinion: Let’s be heard ‘loud and clear’ during provincial election campaign

By David Marsden During the banquet for Sunday’s Boston Bruins alumni game,… Continue reading

Documentary on Colten Boushie case to open Toronto’s Hot Docs festival

TORONTO — A film examining the case of a young Indigenous man… Continue reading

Want to help bees? Plant flowering herbs

Herbs are among the most useful plants in nature. They can tantalize… Continue reading

UN: Gene editing for human reproduction is ‘irresponsible’

GENEVA — A panel convened by the World Health Organization said it… Continue reading

Photos: Three moose spotted in Red Deer Tuesday

Three moose were spotted in Red Deer Tuesday morning. Red Deer resident… Continue reading

Most Read