Builders talking

World Mental Health Day has become a global phenomenon over the last couple of years, harnessing the increasing power of social media (and a few well-placed celebrities) to open up the conversation and take strides in removing the stigma around mental health issues.

Yet whilst Twitter and Facebook feeds are awash with #WMHD on 10 October each year it’s important that mental health issues are something employers and employees are considering throughout the rest of the year as well.

Our Mind Matters article in the February/March 2017 edition of Master Builder looked at why the “[contruction] industry’s macho image” still proves a barrier for many who will resist opening up and talking about problems they may have. Despite this, however, almost a fifth of work-related illnesses in the construction sector are attributed to stress, depression and anxiety.

Just prior to the article being published the British Safety Council and The Health in Construction Leadership Group (HCLG) teamed up to launch Mates in Mind – the first UK-wide programme to promote positive mental health across the construction sector.

Mates in Mind aims to:

  • Raise awareness and understanding of mental health and mental ill-health
  • Help people to understand how, when and where to get support
  • Break the silence and stigma through promoting cultures of positive wellbeing throughout the industry

Mates in Mind has an ambitious goal – to reach 100,000 workers in the first year, and by 2025, Mates in Mind aims to have reached 75% of the construction industry.

Looking specifically at the construction industry, did you know:

  • 1 in 6 of us has a mental health problem such as stress, anxiety or depression, yet 1 in 5 fears that disclosure could cost us our job
  • There are no absolutes. One person with a diagnosed mental illness can be in good mental health; while another with no diagnosed illness or disorder can be in poor mental health.
  • In construction more workers die by suicide than by falls

With many workers still affected by the stigma around mental health it is more important than ever that colleagues are looking out for each other and there are a number of ways you can help them, such as

  • Check someone’s ok over a cuppa
  • Call or text someone to ask how they’re feeling
  • Go for a lunchtime walk with a workmate
  • Stay away from words or phrases that could offend
  • If it feels right, consider sharing your own experience

Mates in Mind provide a number of tools and programmes for both employers and employees that can help get the conversation started.

If you or someone you know needs help or support then you can contact Mates in Minds construction industry helpline on 0345 605 1956.

Some other useful numbers are:

Samaritans: Call 116 123 or email [email protected]

Mind: Call 0300 123 3393 or text 86463

Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM): 0800 58 58 58

Prevention of Young Suicide - Papyrus: Call 0800 068 41 41 or text 07786 209697