Physical health and safety is the utmost importance on site, so why are mental health issues so taboo to talk about within the industry?
Construction has long, demanding working hours and tight deadlines. Coupled with being an industry notorious for a high turnover of staff, when stress and mental health issues aren’t handled efficiently, things can soon start unravelling out of control with the added work pressures.
It is imperative to create a supportive environment where employees can feel comfortable to discuss their mental health issues. Employees should feel assured that there are certain measures in place to access further help, should this be required.
Why is it “the norm”, to feel comfortable enough to talk about physical injuries, such as a bad back, or an aching knee, but when it comes to talking about stress or depression, men, especially feel like they have to put on a “tough” persona?
- Suicide is the biggest killer of men under the age of 45. However, male site workers are three times more likely to commit suicide than the average male in the UK.
- In 2014, 4,623 men took their own life. This equated to one man every 2 hours.
- 9 out of 10 people who experience mental ill-health say they face stigma and discrimination as a result.
These shocking statistics are a stark reminder of the difficulties faced by many working within the construction industry every day.
Early signs of work-related stress
- Sleeping difficulties
- Frequent health problems
- Time off sick
- Change in personality
- Appetite changes
What can employers do?
- Peer support
- Be flexible
- Help reduce stigma
- Have a Mental Health First Aider on site
- Include a short talk in the site inductions about support on-site
Mates in Mind – Aims to provide clear information to employers on available support and guidance.
Lighthouse Club – Provides financial and emotional support to the construction community and their families.
- Has a 24/7 confidential helpline available for construction workers struggling with mental health issues.
- An app has also been created as a new collaboration between the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity, construction software firm, COINS, and Building Mental Health to provide vital information, advice and guidance on many wellbeing topics.
Electrical Industries Charity – Supporting people through life’s challenges, a national charity for the electrical and energy industries.
CALM – The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is leading a movement against suicide.
- Run a free, confidential helpline and webchat