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This World Mental Health Day, Mental ill health in the Construction Industry is a collective responsibility

World Mental Health Day

The state of our nation’s mental health, or lack of it, is never far from the news. Positively, awareness around its issues has risen recently. With a lot of high-profile celebrities speaking about their own struggles and encouraging people to seek help, the stigma around mental health issues is abating and more people are now talking about it. Now that today is World Mental Health Day, the conversation has, again, been reignited.

World Mental Health Day falls on 10 October every year. It has an overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilising efforts in support of mental health. The day provides an opportunity for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide. Specifically for World Mental Health Day 2017, the theme is Mental health in the workplace.

With approximately 1 in 4 people suffering from mental health issues, it is something that employers cannot (and should not) ignore. It has been proven that being employed has a positive impact on mental health but if that job comes with a negative working environment, it can actually lead to mental health problems. This is turn has knock-on effects such as harmful use of substances or alcohol, absenteeism and lost productivity. But, workplaces that promote mental health and support people with mental disorders are more likely to reduce absenteeism, increase productivity and benefit from associated economic gains. For more information about mental health in the workplace, see the WHO information sheet here.

The Construction industry is by no means isolated from the above – according to Construction News’ 2017 Mind Matters survey, 55% of responders had experienced mental ill health at one point, with 42% experiencing issues at their current place of work. This is more than double the national average. (Source: constructionnews.co.uk)

Luckily this didn’t go unnoticed and a number of initiatives were set up to help raise more awareness and improve and promote positive mental health across the sector. Two such initiatives are Mind Matters from Construction News and Mates in mind – an exciting partnership between the Health in Construction Leadership Group and British Safety Council, alongside some key mental health charities – MHFA, Mind and the Samaritans.

With our role in the construction industry primarily dealing with people – connecting, empowering and supporting them in changing jobs – we are very conscious of the statistics and will ensure it is a key consideration of all our employees. The industry has a collective responsibility to not lose sight of the issues workers may be facing and that the support they need is available to them.

For more information see:

https://www.constructionnews.co.uk/best-practice/mind-matters

https://www.matesinmind.org/

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