Mental health in the construction industry
While mental health is being talked about more than ever in UK workplaces, there is still, unfortunately, a lack of confidence to speak up about it across many construction companies. This is especially true in smaller organisations and is often exacerbated due to long working hours, the pressure to deliver projects within tight timeframes and the stress of chasing payments.
In a recent survey conducted by Construction News, they found that nearly a quarter of the construction workers they surveyed had considered taking their own lives. Up to 30% of them had taken time off work due to mental health issues, yet 63% of these did not discuss this with their employers.
So, what can be done to tackle mental health in the construction industry? We take a look at how your company can encourage workers to speak up if they’re struggling.
Mental health training
While your business and employees may be busy working on projects, it’s essential to make time to train your employees in areas such as health and safety. With this in mind, it’s equally as important to provide them with mental health training resources such as e-learning, pamphlets and in-house sessions. Demonstrate to workers what they should do if they are struggling with mental health and similarly, the actions they should take if they notice someone else struggling. Your workers should be able to recognise the signs of this, so they can help.
More and more businesses are training dedicated first-aiders to act as a confidential resource for people to speak to. This demonstrates that your construction business is giving precedence to both physical and mental illness while removing the stigma. Your mental health first-aiders will be specifically trained to spot the signs of a construction worker contending with their mental health and understand the best way to intervene and provide support.
Create a safe environment
The best way to encourage people to talk about mental health is to normalise it. For years, many have tried to hide their struggles, even though at least 1 in 4 people have struggled with a mental health issue at some point in their lives. Provide a safe space for your workers to talk through their issues, giving them the tools and support they require.