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The importance of supporting the mental wellbeing of construction workers

The importance of supporting the mental wellbeing of construction workers

Working in the construction sector comes with a number of challenges. From tight deadlines to the physical demands of the work itself, there are numerous factors that make working in this sector particularly challenging.

When you pair the existing challenges with new issues that seem to be arising like an increased demand of work and an unstable economy, it’s no wonder that workers in the construction sector are experiencing a stress epidemic, which is impacting their mental wellbeing.

Construction is known for its “macho culture”, which means, as a predominantly male industry, construction workers can feel pressured to ‘suck it up’ and get on with things, even if they are really struggling mentally or emotionally.

So, what can business owners and leaders do to make a positive change within the industry?

What causes mental health problems in this sector? 

There are a few common things that can have a negative impact on an employee’s day-to-day mental health, and over time they can take their toll.

First of all, genetics can play a part, and so can chemical imbalances in the brain; and sometimes, there’s no obvious cause. External factors also trigger mental health problems.

For example, experiencing things such as:

  • Grief or loss
  • Loneliness
  • Relationship troubles
  • Poor physical health
  • Financial worries
  • Increased responsibilities, like being a single parent, or a carer for a loved one

And then there’s job stressors.

At work, it’s not unusual to feel under pressure or overwhelmed from time to time, especially if things are difficult in their personal lives too.

But if an employee is always under pressure to meet tight deadlines, doesn’t have any or enough managerial support, has an ongoing conflict with a colleague, or they feel they’re being overloaded with work - these things can be very harmful to them.

This is why poor mental health is such a major cause of absenteeism and presenteeism, meaning people often take sick days and time off, or they’re at work but not able to work productively, or even much at all.

Talking about these things can be hard for many people because it makes them feel vulnerable, embarrassed, or even weak. But talking about your feelings is not a sign of weakness - it’s actually the opposite. It’s part of taking charge of your wellbeing and doing what you need to do to stay healthy - it’s actually the braver choice.

How can manufacturing businesses make a change?

It’s clear that the construction industry needs to make changes to better support its staff when it comes to mental wellbeing.

There are a number of ways employees are able to do this…

Utilising leaders

Construction organisations should place responsibilities on their leaders to ensure that they are encouraging a positive workplace culture where mental wellbeing is supported and respected.

Furthermore, organisations should consider putting their leaders through a Mental Health First Aider course. This will allow them to be able to provide the best support.

Monitor working conditions

Employers have a duty to ensure that they’re regularly monitoring working conditions, including the stressors and risks of work-related problems.

When these triggers are identified, they can be dealt with so that fewer employees need to face problems that are causing them mental health problems.

Communicate what resources are available

Organisations need to ensure that staff know what resources are available to them to help them through difficult times.

Resources can include helplines, Mental Health First Aiders, online support, charitable help, as well as numerous other resources organisations should have in place to help.

Awareness training

If you want to help your employees with mental health issues they might be facing, remove the stigma surrounding mental health, or you want to provide employees with the tools to manage and maintain positive mental health, Mental Health Awareness training is an essential.

Here at iHASCO, we offer an online Mental Health Awareness in Construction Training course that helps to spread awareness of mental ill-health in the construction sector and provides employees with a wellbeing toolkit to manage day-to-day mental health, while raising awareness of some of the mental health problems people might be facing.

You can claim a free, no-obligation trial to the course today! Alternatively, you can request a bespoke quote for your organisation and a member of our team will be in touch to discuss your training requirements.

Mental Health Awareness in Construction Training