By Catriona Lingwood, Chief Executive of Constructing Excellence in the North East
Following the recent figures from the Office of National Statistics which found that men working in construction are four times more likely to take their own life than men on average, the Charted Institute of Building (CIOB) announced a new extensive survey looking into the mental health of industry workers.
Mental health in construction is often described as the ‘silent epidemic’ but when you look at the statistics, it’s not silent at all. According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), anxiety and depression have overtaken musculoskeletal issues as the most reported health problem in the industry – that might sound scary, but the positive thing is that it’s being reported!
The survey will look into the mental health of employees and the levels of stress construction employees endure. The results will then be analysed to establish which are the primary pressures on workers at different levels. The information is then likely to be used to:
- Develop recommendations for both the construction sector and policymakers to help reduce the pressures identified;
- Draw the above recommendations, if legislative change is required, into a policy paper to discuss with parliamentarians;
- Gather case study material to exemplify the primary issues raised in the survey and demonstrate the impact that these issues can have on individuals;
- Shape a detailed report outlining the findings, sharing the case studies and summarising any policy recommendations.
We work in an industry that is stressful and comes with huge pressures. That’s not to say it’s any more stressful than other professions but with construction comes the macho culture, which sadly makes people afraid to ask for help. As well as wanting the best for our workers, our industry also carries a great deal of risk and if the job isn’t done properly, accidents will happen. We all need to keep working together to change the stigma relating to mental health and get our workers talking.
Here, at Constructing Excellence, we do lots to help improve the health, safety and wellbeing of workers in the industry. Along with our Generation4Change, our committee of young professionals who are passionate about making a difference in the sector, we are currently carrying out a mental health survey. The results of which will be discussed at the North East Construction Summit, later in the year.
I’m just glad to see that the industry is taking mental health seriously, both regionally and nationally. While there’s no one solution to solve all of the issues surrounding mental health, the data that will be gathered from the CIOB survey will identify where work is needed and suggest solutions that will work.
For more information on Constructing Excellence in the North East, please contact chief executive, Catriona Lingwood, on 0191 500 7880 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.