The UK Construction industry is losing both talent and productivity to mental illness.
Recent studies commissioned by Public Health England (PHE) found that certain groups of male construction workers were at greatest risk of suicide, with figures at a staggering 3.7 times above the national average. Men are three times more likely to complete suicide than women and the figure is even higher for manual workers.
Stress, depression or anxiety accounted for almost a fifth of work-related illness in the construction sector between 2013 and 2016, with more than 14,000 self-reported cases and 400,000 working days lost annually, according to the Health and Safety Executive.
The construction industry lifestyle, particularly those who work on site has been identified as an aggravating factor. People who work away from home for weeks at a time, may be removed from their regular, close social network.
Some of the UK’s largest construction businesses have recognised the issue. Skanska has united with other industry leaders to launch Mates in Mind – the first UK-wide programme to promote positive mental health across the construction sector. Willmott Dixon has setup the All Safe Minds campaign to ensure that everyone working on its project sites across the UK, are fully aware of the support network available, should they feel unable to cope with their own personal situation.
A lack of understanding around mental health with many saying there is not enough industry awareness and others identifying a stigma surrounding the issue.
Research suggests that in the construction sector, people could be 10 times more likely to die by suicide than from on-site accidents. With the industry having made such progress with attitudes and provision towards site safety in recent years, it is reassuring to see the spotlight move toward mental health and wellbeing.
Fusion People’s nominated corporate charity for 2017 is Mind. They provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem and campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.
You can visit their website and support their cause here >> https://www.mind.org.uk/
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