The following video has been extracted from our new Mental Health in Construction course, this particular slide looks at the shocking statistics surrounding Mental Health and some of the reasons as to why some construction workers will suffer from mental ill-health...
Poor mental health in the construction industry accounts for over 200 suicides per year.
The sad and often unspoken truth of it is that construction workers are prone to stress, anxiety and depression for a number of reasons, and IOSH Magazine reports that these factors are responsible for over “400,000 lost working days each year.”
Work-Related Stress Triggers
Work-related stress in the construction industry is often triggered by heavy workloads, long working hours, and always thinking about one’s physical safety for hours on end while carrying out high-risk tasks. Then there’s the lack of routine, frequent travelling, being separated from family, and working in isolation. As construction workers are also contract-based, anxiety can be triggered by a lack of job security or steady paycheck, tight deadlines and restrictive budgeting costs.
If it’s of interest, employers and employees can check out our Mental Health in Construction and Stress Awareness eLearning courses to learn how to identify, manage and reduce stress/mental ill both inside and outside of work.
Construction is known for its “macho culture”, which means - as a predominantly male industry - workers often feel pressured (either internally, externally, or both) to ‘suck it up’ and get on with things, even if they are really struggling.
It’s common for workers not to ask for help even when they desperately need support of some kind; they often avoid admitting they don’t know how to do something, or they don’t know how to explain that they’re overwhelmed by their job or troubles in their personal life.
This not only leads to more accidents on the job, but it also leads to the development of stress, anxiety and depression.
iHasco are advocates for raising awareness of the devastating consequences surrounding untreated mental ill health, in the hope that both employers and employees can improve these statistics. The remedy can be as simple as... talking and listening.
The Considerate Constructors Scheme tells us that stress “has forced 1 in 5 workers to call in sick; 90% did not feel able to tell their boss the real reason why.” So the first step for improving these statistics lies with employers creating a working environment where employees feel comfortable being vulnerable. If a worker feels that they can be honest and ask for help without feeling embarrassed or uncomfortable, employers can provide guidance and solutions before a worker’s mental health deteriorates.
There’s also an option for certain workers to be trained as Mental Health First Aiders.
MHFA England provides training for employees to:
- Identify the warning signs of poor mental health within the workforce
- Learn about common mental illnesses, including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder etc
- Listen (not advise) and offer a confidential support to those who need to talk
- Discuss various options and signpost an individual for additional help if it is needed
- Know how to handle a case where an individual has suicidal thoughts
- Know how to handle emergencies, such as acute distress or psychosis
Offering such a service helps workers share their concerns, receive appropriate help, and even nip problems in the bud before they develop. It also highlights the one thing that so many people seem to miss... Regardless of gender, age and job title...
Mental ill health is extremely common. Would such a scheme exist otherwise?
Mental Health & Wellbeing Training for Construction
After hearing the shocking statistics surrounding mental ill-health in the industry, we felt compelled to create a Mental Health & Wellbeing awareness course specifically for the construction sector. It's the first eLearning course of its kind and can be completed in as little as 40 minutes. Our course puts a strong emphasis on breaking the stigma surrounding mental ill-health in construction and is split into 4 easy-to-follow sections.
Mental Health has been a hot topic in our office for some months now, and our range of Mental Health and Wellbeing courses are ready and waiting for all employees and managers in all sectors to use as a guide for identifying and reducing poor mental health in the working environment. They're also fantastic guides for improving and maintaining one’s wellbeing - which should be a priority for us all.
Interested in our mental health and wellbeing courses but not sure if they're right for you and your organisation? No worries! Have a free taster on us...
Other External Resources
The UK's Mates in Mind is a fantastic organisation that raises awareness of mental ill-health, helps to remove the stigma attached to it, and they provide useful tools for management and workers in the construction sector. The scheme is supported by The British Safety Council, Mind, MHFA England, and the Samaritans.
If you are a construction worker and you feel you need some help (or you know someone who does) you can start with the MHFA’s Take 10 Together campaign, which encourages people to take 10 minutes to start a D&M (‘deep and meaningful’) with a friend, family member, or colleague about their mental health.
It’s so important to bring this topic out from the shadows and into the light - so mental health and wellbeing can become as mainstream a topic as a broken arm or a fractured rib. Good mental and physical health are both crucial for a happy, healthy working and personal life.
We just have to keep the conversation going, never forgetting that we’re all in this together.