Mental Health in the Construction Industry
Working in construction can be challenging with long hours, tight deadlines, financial pressure and working away from home. All of these combined with personal circumstances such as bereavement, divorce and physical illness can take their toll on mental health. Covid–19 has made things worse for some by increasing work pressures and creating isolation and job uncertainty. Short days and cold weather in the winter can also make things really tough for those working in the industry.
A report by CIOB in May 2020 highlighted a silent mental health crisis in the construction industry, with males more than three times more likely to commit suicide than those in other sectors.
Even when things seem desperate, there is help available. Sometimes, just having someone to talk to can make a difference, but there are also a number of places where you get practical help and advice. If you are feeling in need of help, the following services are available.
Free confidential support services
The Samaritans aims to provide emotional support to anyone in emotional distress, struggling to cope, or at risk of suicide throughout Great Britain and Ireland. Their helpline is free to call any time (24/7) from any phone. They offer a safe place to talk without judging or telling you what to do, they will listen to you.
Call 116 123
Construction Industry Helpline
This helpline is provided by the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity and supported by the Considerate Constructors Scheme. It advises on a range of matters including occupational health and wellbeing, support and advice for people with stress, and home worries such as divorce, tax and financial concerns. The services can also provide emergency financial aid to the construction community in times of crisis.
Call 0345 6051956
Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM)
This helpline and webchat is available 5pm until midnight, 365 days a year is available for people in the UK who have hit a wall for any reason, who need to talk or find information and support.
Call : 0800 58 58 58 (UK) 0808 802 58 58 (London)
This is a helpline for children and young people under the age of 35 who are experiencing thoughts of suicide. They offer confidential support and practical advice with trained advisors to help you focus on staying safe from suicide or advice on supporting a young person that you are concerned may be a risk. Opne 9am to midnight every day of the year.
Employer advice, support and resources
Employee mental health and wellbeing is beginning to get the attention it clearly deserves, with organisations starting to consider it in the same regard as onsite worker safety. As an employee you can ask your manager or HR department about any support that your employer has put in place to help support mental health. For employers and managers in the construction industry, the following resources could be useful in providing employee support and promoting mental well-being in the workplace.
A charity providing information to employers about the available support and guidance on mental health and wellbeing and helping to transform the mental health cultures in workplaces. They have sector specific support for the construction industry including tailored training programs and elearning, guidance eon specific worker issues and communication materials such as posters.
Providing emotional, physical and financial wellbeing support to construction workers and their families. In addition to their 24/7 construction industry helpline and app, this charity also provides construction focused wellbeing and mental health training including the MHFA England approved Mental Health First Aider course.
Mental Health is a collection of resources curated by the charity Mind. It includes a toolkit for building mental health in construction and suggest 5 key steps to building a supportive culture around mental health in construction.
The HSE aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. Its website has a section about stress and mental health at work and offers a number of management standards, stress and suicide prevention resources.