WORKSHOP BUILDS CORE SKILLS FOR GOOD CHOICES, BETTER LIFE SMOHIT (the Sheet Metal Occupational Safety and Health Institute) has developed a new workshop called SMART PREVENT, designed to complement the Union’s Member Assistance Program (SMART MAP). PREVENT is combination of SMOHIT’s “Fit for Life” initiative and content originally developed by the U.S. Navy. The workshop is designed to teach fundamental skills for sheet metal workers that will improve quality of life—with a special emphasis on depression and on preventing both substance abuse and suicide. Interaction, strategies for behavior change PREVENT uses an interactive class designed to enhance participants’ understanding of personal responsibilities in all aspects of their lives. PREVENT is built on an understanding that knowledge alone is seldom sufficient to produce change or modify behavior; knowledge must be supplemented by behavior change strategies to produce the desired effect. The workshop is designed particularly for younger members (roughly 18-30 years old), but may also be of value to other members. The goal is moving individuals through the process of personal health enhancement and risk reduction. In addition, the participatory nature of the workshop could benefit from the more experienced perspective some older students might bring to it. Targeting newest members of our high-risk industry Substance abuse in the construction industry is high, estimated at more than 16 percent for heavy alcohol use and more than 11 percent for illicit drugs. That abuse takes its toll in the workplace, with high rates of absenteeism and frequent employee turnover. But problems also arise outside of the workplace, where there can be implications for both health and financial matters. PREVENT hopes to teach young workers how to live better to avoid pitfalls from these negative behaviors. The workshop, along with the SMART MAP program, is meant to amplify the effects of existing employee assistance programs and available community resources. This is a foundational training that will provide younger members the tools to enhance their overall quality of life, build stronger coping and leadership skills, and deal with some of the contemporary issues of the younger generation, including suicide, alcohol and drug abuse. The course objectives are listed in the box on this page. “Sheet metal work is a high-hazard job,” said Randall Krocka, SMOHIT’s administrator. “Combine that with unsafe lifestyle choices, and people get hurt. We don’t want that. We urge all our sheet metal members to take part in this program.” PREVENT: Teaching Positive Skills • Enhance understanding of personal responsibilities, standards and values. • Provide enhanced cognitive skills. • Improve communication skills. • Teach how to understand and manage oneself in conflict situations. • Ramp up decision-making abilities. • Reduce the threat of suicide, alcohol and drug abuse. • Limit personal risk to stress and financial challenges. • Understand how personal standards impact coworkers, the local union and family.
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