Christmas can be a challenging time for many people in the construction industry, especially following the disruption of the past three years and now the added pressure of financial uncertainty. Which is why it’s more important than ever for businesses to look at what they can do to support their colleagues, ask if they’re doing OK and be ready to lend an ear.
However, opening up a conversation can be a difficult first step on either side of the coin – whether you feel you could do with some help, or you think a co-worker might be in need. It can be especially difficult if you feel you don’t have the resources to be able to offer practical help.
Opening up the conversation
The FMB’s charity partner, The Lighthouse Club, offer free and confidential emotional, physical and financial wellbeing support for construction workers and their families. They also have a wealth of resources available for small businesses to access.
With The Lighthouse Club, businesses can:
- Sign up to the Building Mental Health Charter to make a commitment to improving mental health in the industry.
- Arrange training for you or your staff to become Mental Health First Aiders. The Lighthouse Club recommends having at least one per 100 employees.
- Download poster resources and helpline packs – demonstrate to your colleagues that you prioritise mental wellbeing and give them the resources to access help.
- Download a Toolbox Talk for you to deliver to colleagues, educating them on the signs to look out for and how to start the conversation.
- Book a free wellbeing masterclass
Taking the first step
If you recognise that you or a colleague might need help, there’s no better time to open up to the power of the conversation than now. Our own Caroline Hughes, Director of Support Services at the FMB and in-house Mental Health First Aid Instructor, offers her advice:
“Starting a conversation about mental health can be difficult. Mental Health First Aiders are trained to start conversations, but you don't have to be trained to ask someone if they're okay! Sometimes that is all it takes to start a conversation and a caring, listening ear, could be just what someone needs in a difficult time."
How The Lighthouse Club help
“I had an empty office, vans, insurances and wages for my staff that had children to feed and bills to pay. My responsibility amounted to many tens of thousands of pounds a month. I went to a very dark place very quickly.
I just couldn’t face losing everything I had built up and was just sick and tired of my lot in life. It was at this moment I got a call from an unknown number. I’m a Company Supporter of the Lighthouse Club and it turned out to be them asking me for my annual donation. It could not have come at a worse time.
The lady on the phone, sensed my state of mind I think and said to me ‘Are you alright? Forget I even called for your annual donation, I just want to know you are ok and you are coping.’
Well I cracked up and admitted no, I wasn’t coping and that was the first step. Hearing some of my back catalogue she quickly got a case worker to speak with me. I felt overwhelmed that someone cared so much. What resulted was the charity funding a series of counselling sessions for me over a period of months.
The swift action and support from the lighthouse club may have actually saved my life. What a great thing to be able to say.”
How to get help
If you or someone you know in the industry needs help, you can reach out to the Lighthouse Club in the following ways, which are all free to use:
- Call: 0345 609 1956
- Chat over text:
Text HARDHAT to 85258 (UK) or
Text HARDHAT to 50808 (ROI)
- Click here to request a call or email
- Download the free Construction Industry Helpline app
- Find a Lighhouse Beacon - a safe space ot talk in your area
As well as offering mental health support, they can offer practical help with issues including tax, legal and debt matters, and can provide emergency financial aid to construction families in crisis.