Last week was mental health awareness week, and we took to our social media to talk about mental health in the construction industry. It's something that tends to be swept under the carpet, left alone and ignored, particularly in an industry that is oft centred on masculinity and a stiff upper lip kind of attitude.
But here are the statistics:
- In the current UK climate, there are around 595,000 workers currently suffering from work-related stress, depression or anxiety.*
- Male site workers are three times more likely to commit suicide than the average population.**
- One in four construction workers have considered suicide at some point.
- There are 239,000 new cases of work-related mental health issues reported every year.*
- While around 80% of employers feel their employees would be comfortable speaking about their mental health, only 5% actually do.
- There were 15.4 million working days lost due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2017/18.*
It's clear that there is still a long way to go when it comes to mental health in the workplace, and while we may sell PPE, we believe that mental health is just as paramount as physical.
As employers and employees, there are actions that can be taken in order to support others. Looking out for the symptoms of someone who may be struggling is just the beginning. According to The Construction Management Financial Association, these are some potential warning signs to look out for. These include increased lateness, absenteeism and presenteeism; decreased productivity due to distraction and cognitive slowing; lack of self-confidence; and isolation from peers among others.
And as employers, there are an increasing number of resources available to ensure up-to-date and good education when it comes to supporting employees in their mental health. Begin by considering training a mental health first aider, and then look to Mental Health at Work for a large library of resources.
And lastly, share. Share your own feelings, particularly if you are 'at the top'. Be the good example of being aware of your own feelings. Be the person that is unafraid of their own mental health. Be the change.
You could save a life.
**From Office for National Statistics