Prioritising Mental Health in Construction: Insights & Tips for Mental Health Awareness Week 2023
Mental Health Awareness Week is an important initiative that aims to shed light on the significance of mental well-being in all aspects of life, including the workplace. In an industry known for its demanding and high-pressure nature, construction workers often face challenges that can impact their mental health. As we observe Mental Health Awareness Week 2023, it is crucial to foster a culture of support, understanding, and awareness within the construction sector.
In this post, we will explore valuable advice and tips to promote mental health in the construction industry along with some examples we foster in our own business.
2.1m employees have taken sick leave caused by construction workplace stress
According to a new study, 8 out of 10 employees in the UK have taken sick leave caused by construction workplace stress and poor mental health.The findings conducted as part of the ‘Make Chat Work’ campaign found that over half of industry workers (53%) left the job due to construction workplace stress. The report comes after more stringent mental health provisions in construction contracts have been recommended. Although stress levels are high, respondents recognised the importance of talking about mental health. Data from the ‘Make Chat Work’ campaign revealed that 74% of construction workers said they talk to colleagues about problems at work.
96% of respondents said that talking to colleagues helps to relieve pressures at work.
This is an encouraging sign that people in our industry feel that they can chat and seek support. Mental Health Awareness Week 2023 provides an opportunity to focus on mental well-being in the construction industry. By recognising the signs, fostering open communication, providing resources, and promoting work-life balance, we can create a supportive environment that prioritises mental health. Let us strive to break down stigmas, raise awareness, and empower construction workers to take care of their mental well-being, not only during this awareness week but throughout the year. Together, we can build a healthier and more resilient construction industry.
Poor mental health at work cost UK employers £56bn in 2020-21. Research from Deloitte revealed the cost to employers increased to £56bn in 2020-21, an £11bn increase compared to £45bn in 2019.
Poor mental health doesn’t discriminate; it can affect anyone whether you’re a business owner, manager, or starting out in your career. People may face different stresses within the workplace, but the outcome is the same – it can take its toll and result in serious mental health issues.
Stress, anxiety, and depression account for a fifth of all work-related illnesses, and every single working day in the UK, two construction workers take their own life.
At Alloy Fabweld we see how important it is to spread awareness and support, we hope this blog provides some help for our employees and colleagues in our industry.
1. Recognise the Signs:
It is vital to familiarize yourself with common signs of mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and stress in yourself and your colleagues. Be attentive to changes in behaviour, mood swings, increased absenteeism, or diminished productivity. Recognizing these signs early on can allow for timely intervention and support.
2. Encourage Open Communication:
Create an environment that promotes open dialogue about mental health. Encourage workers to share their feelings, concerns, and experiences without fear of judgment or reprisal. Provide safe spaces for discussions, such as regular team meetings or designated mental health support groups. Promote active listening and empathy to foster a sense of belonging and emotional well-being.
3. Mental Health Resources:
Collaborate with healthcare providers to offer workshops, training sessions, or confidential counselling services. Share information about local mental health support networks and helplines that workers can reach out to for assistance. We provide a support service through Health Assured, which has free resources and support calls for those that need that bit of help.
4. Promote Work-Life Balance:
The construction industry often demands long hours and high workloads, which can contribute to burnout and mental strain. Encourage workers to establish a healthy work-life balance by promoting breaks, rest days, and reasonable work hours. Encourage hobbies, exercise, and time spent with family and friends to nurture overall well-being. Alloy Fabweld provides a pot of money for teams to wind down after work on a Friday.
5. Foster Supportive Relationships:
Nurture a culture of camaraderie and support among workers. Encourage team-building activities, celebrate accomplishments, and provide opportunities for social interaction. Strong support networks can enhance resilience and create an atmosphere where individuals feel comfortable seeking help when needed. We hold team-building events and we recently carried out values workshops to understand and support our teams.
7. Lead by Example:
Leaders and managers play a crucial role in shaping the work environment, it is important that we demonstrate empathy, compassion, and understanding when dealing with mental health concerns. Lead by example by practicing self-care, promoting work-life balance, and openly discussing mental health.
8. Regularly Evaluate and Adapt:
Continuously assess the effectiveness of mental health initiatives within the construction industry. Collect feedback from workers, identify areas for improvement, and make necessary adjustments. Regularly evaluate the impact of mental health programs and measure progress over time.