1 min read

Season 5, Episode 88

Taking a look at Mental Health Awareness in America with Dr. Sally



Guest Name:

Dr. Sally Spencer-Thomas

Guest Website:


Guest Social Media:





Supportive Documents:

To begin Mental Health Awareness Month, Dr. Sally Spencer-Thomas, noted psychologist, program trainer and speaker, joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss the state of mental health awareness in America. She also spoke about how unions can provide care and access to mental health, including the Man Therapy campaign.

Dr. Sally discussed the general state of mental health in America and how the stress and culture in the work environment are impacting workers in the trades and how the younger generation has seen a stronger push for proper mental health care. Dr. Sally said that one out of every five workers suffers from mental health issues, and now is the time to take action to improve the care that union members receive. She added that America is the only country with an inverse life cycle, meaning residents are dying younger each year, and one of the contributing factors is declining mental health and suicide. 

For union construction members, death by suicide is currently happening at a higher than average rate than the general population, nearly three to four times more often. Dr. Sally said that unions need to adopt the same mentality they used to improve the culture around workplace safety. Part of this effort starts with proper education for members and leaders, ensuring there’s a simple and safe way to seek the resources needed. To assist with the education and culture changes, Dr. Sally’s work with unions includes programs focusing on small daily conversations like toolbox talks to get the necessary messages to members.

Finding a way to engage with union members is always challenging, especially with men in the industry. Dr. Sally talked about Man Therapy, a unique approach that targets men who face several barriers—personal and cultural— when trying to seek mental health assistance. Using a made-up therapist, Dr. Rich Mahogany, the efforts provide a humorous approach to educating members on the importance of self-awareness and how to perform wellness checks on themselves before seeking a therapist. She said this has proven to be one of the most effective ways based on their blind research and polls, and many unions have adapted this program to help members.

Listen to the show above for more information on mental health in the building trades. For more information on how Dr. Sally works with unions, please visit SallySpencerThomas.com.

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: AFL-CIO, American Federation of Government Employees, American Federation of Musicians Local 4, American Alliance for Manufacturing, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council, Communication Workers of America, International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers, International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers Local 50, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Crafts, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 6, Ironworkers Great Lakes District Council, The Labor Citizen newspaper, Laborers International Union of The National Labor Office of Blue Cross and Blue Shield, North America, North Coast Area Labor Federation, Ohio Federation of Teachers, Survey and Ballot Systems, United Labor Agency, United Steelworkers.


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