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Dr. Sally Spencer-Thomas

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Dr. Sally Spencer-Thomas, noted psychologist, program trainer and speaker, joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to talk about Suicide Prevention Week and Mental Health Awareness. Dr. Sally also talked about improving awareness in the building trades and improving your Local union’s ability to provide resources to those in need. 

A psychologist by education, she dove into suicide prevention and mental health awareness following the death of her brother by suicide. It was the feeling that she could have helped her brother if there had been more education and less bias against men’s mental health discussions. Dr. Sally works daily to improve the narrative around men’s mental health. In her research, she found the best way to make the most impact was to seek out men at work, starting with the construction industry and first responders.

It wasn’t just about finding the industries where workers suffer the most occurrences of suicide and mental health issues, it was about providing answers. Dr. Sally described the challenges faced when looking to provide answers to workers who have experienced events in their lives they’ve never been able to get help for before. There is already a value in unions, as members look out for their Brothers and Sisters in the trades. With this intrinsic caring nature and membership who have faced their own battles, Dr. Sally said the unions have helped to push forward the efforts to improve mental health awareness.

How can your Local help with improving mental health awareness? Building formal peer support programs within your Local has proven to be the most impactful way to improve awareness. Among their peers, everyone is on equal footing and has faced similar experiences to provide an emotional support frame for their Brothers and Sisters in the Local. Dr. Sally and her program will help train Locals on the setup and recruitment of members to ensure the peer programs work to the best of their ability. To learn more about the work being done by Dr. Sally, please visit

Hear more from Dr. Sally by listening to the episode above.

America’s Work Force is the only daily labor podcast in the US and has been on the air since 1993, supplying listeners with useful, relevant input into their daily lives through fact-finding features, in-depth interviews, informative news segments and practical consumer reports. America’s Work Force is committed to providing an accessible venue in which America's workers and their families can hear discussion on important, relevant topics such as employment, healthcare, legislative action, labor-management relations, corporate practices, finances, local and national politics, consumer reports and labor issues.

America’s Work Force Union Podcast is brought to you in part by our sponsors: American Federation of Government Employees, American Federation of Musicians Local 4, Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council, Communication Workers of America, International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 6, The Labor Citizen newspaper, Laborers International Union of North America, North Coast Area Labor Federation, Survey and Ballot Systems, United Auto Workers, United Labor Agency, United Steelworkers.


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