Working in the construction industry can provide us with plenty of challenges, particularly when it comes to mental health. Our industry is infamously poor at shining a spotlight on mental health issues, particularly among the majority of men who work in our industry, and so for Mental Health Awareness Week 2022 we wanted to focus on mental health within the construction industry and what we can do to help.
Dissecting the problem
British men are three times more likely to commit suicide when compared to women. However, in the construction industry alone, men are actually three times more likely to lose their life through suicide when compared to the national average for men. Why is this? Construction work itself can come with a multitude of pressures for those of us who choose to do this type of work, from long, unsociable hours to tight, impending deadlines. Managing budgets and other people’s resources while juggling family and home life also presents its own challenges.
More than anything, there exists within the construction industry a certain kind of male-influenced ‘macho’ associated culture which prevents many construction workers from reaching out and seeking the kind of support that would help them drastically improve mental health. But don’t just take our word for it – preliminary survey findings from charity Mates in Mind and the Institute for Employment Studies tell us that a third of construction workers suffer from high levels of anxiety every single day! Perhaps more telling is that two thirds believe there’s still an unhealthy stigma attached to mental health in the industry, which consequently stops others from reaching out.
Offering a solution
The theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is loneliness, and when we start to dig a little deeper into the industry, it becomes clear that this is a massive issue for us. A shocking statistic from the Chartered Institute of Building found that in 2019 alone (pre-pandemic; the situation has got worse since) 26% of professionals in the construction industry thought about taking their own lives.
So what can we do to tackle this? Mental Health Awareness Week teaches us to connect with the people around us and initiate (sometimes difficult) conversations. Luckily, increased education and training on the topic of mental health is eliminating some of the stigma attached here and encouraging positive changes.
But we need to be doing more to normalise the kinds of conversations that can ultimately make the difference between someone getting the help they need or not at all. This can be done by asking direct questions about the welfare of construction workers to reflect a realistic representation of how these workers are feeling day-to-day. If you see someone who seems to be struggling, initiate a conversation; get them talking about it.
Below is a list of mental health-specific charities that you can use to contact if you feel you need help. Remember that you can share this with those you think might need to hear it too:
Call: 0808 808 00 00
Email: Email Form
Webchat: Webchat Service Available
Visit: macmillan.org.uk for further information and support, and to access webchat
Call: 0300 123 3393
Call: 116 123
CellarTech are providers of basement & cellar conversions – supplied and built, we also undertake new build basements, underpinning, surveys, general building, and home extensions. Based in the Southwest, we service clients in and around the Gloucestershire region. If you have any queries or need more advice on how to manage the rising costs of building materials, take a look at our website www.cellartechsouthwest.co.uk or give us a call on 01452 619 871 – we’d be happy to help!