3rd February Journal Column

By Catriona Lingwood, Chief Executive of Constructing Excellence in the North East

Research suggests that those working in our industry could be 10 times more likely to die by suicide than from on-site accidents. I don’t know about you, but when you consider how dangerous our industry is, that statistic is both shocking and extremely saddening.

To help change this, earlier this month, the Health in Construction Leadership Group supported by the British Safety Council, announced the launch of Mates in Mind – the sector-wide programme intended to help improve and promote positive mental health across the industry in the UK.
The programme has been put in place to help raise awareness and understanding of poor mental health in the industry, offering training packages to raise awareness and educate the industry on what mental health is and how to buy ativan online, support those who are experiencing issues. Free 45-minute inductions on mental health will be offered across the industry. And with 2.5 million people employed in our industry across the UK, and it estimated that 350,000 of them will experience a mental health issue at any one time, this 45-minute induction could make all the difference.

Men, and the industry as a whole, are both stereotypically seen as ‘macho’, and carry a stigma of weakness when it comes to mental health issues. For some reason men feel like they can’t talk about their feelings, but at the end of the day, regardless of our occupation, we’re all human, we all go through the same struggles, you shouldn’t be expected to deal with it in a certain way because of your gender or job title.

The second annual Health in Construction summit took place earlier this year, attended by over 300 industry bosses and occupational health and safety professionals, doubling last year’s numbers. They discussed the importance of raising awareness of health issues across companies. The summit included the initial launch of the Mates in Mind programme, starting off the discussion and offering employees support.

We need to make sure we’re filtering the importance of talking about mental health through the supply chain, to the smaller companies that are often harder to reach. Discussing the topic at an event attended by industry leaders and professionals is definitely the right way to go, they are the people with the power to make things happen.

It’s good to see the industry are really jumping on board with the Mates in Mind programme so far. Clive Johnson, group head of health, safety and security at Land Securities and chair of the Health in Construction Leadership Group (HCLG), said all contractors and their supply chains must be signed up to “Mates in Mind” before they can tender for work with the developer. It’s a step in the right direction, and I urge more companies to follow suit.

Yesterday, Prince Harry launched Time to Talk Day, as he continued his Heads Together campaign, a campaign founded by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Harry, to break the silence around mental health problems. Whether you’re experiencing problems or want advice, please don’t be afraid to seek help, there’s so many programmes out there to help at the minute. Anyone can call Samaritans for free any time from any phone on 116 123 and the number will not appear on your phone bill.