The reality of mental health

Physical health still predominates in British business and in construction in particular. Signs remind workers to wear personal protection equipment and there is regular attendance at safety talks and courses. But where is the discussion on mental health and its importance?

Suicide is the biggest killer of men under the age of 45. However, male site workers are three times more likely to commit suicide than the average male in the UK. Suicide kills more construction workers than falls.

Construction represents around 7 per cent of the UK workforce and, according to the Office for National Statistics, between 2011 and 2015, of the 13,232 in-work suicides, the construction industry accounted for 13.2 per cent.

Recent surveys suggest that two-thirds of construction workers want better physical and mental wellbeing support from their employers. There have also been calls for construction to have a greater awareness of mental health and eradicate the stigma associated with it.

There is evidence suggesting that three out of every five employees are experiencing mental health issues because of work.

Employers need the necessary skills, clarity and confidence to raise awareness, improve understanding, and enable positive action to address the barriers that surround mental health at work.

Regardless of where your organisation is in its mental health journey, there has been a positive response to talking about mental health and those who do should be congratulated. What’s certain is a proactive response to mental health is making a real difference.”

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