ASF are proud supporters of Mates in Mind and believe that currently, not enough conversations are being had about mental health in the construction industry. Employers are well-versed in health and safety in construction, so why shouldn’t mental health be the same? With that in mind, here are some positive actions you can take today to promote good mental health in your workplace.
Mates in Mind educates those in the building industry about the range of mental health support that’s available to them. Working in partnership with leading charities and organisations such as Mind, Samaritans and Mental Health First Aid England, they hope to reach 75% of UK construction workers by 2025.
Learn how to spot the signs
More often than not, those who are more prone to suicidal thoughts will suffer in silence. This is perhaps even more prevalent among construction workers, where stoicism is usually par for the course. This is why learning how to spot the signs of depression is even more vital.
Consider taking an online suicide prevention training offered by the Zero Suicide Alliance. Designed to help employers identify when someone is showing signs of suicidal thoughts or behaviour, the course provides guidance on how best to support these individuals.
Remove the stigma about mental health
Demonstrate to your workers that your firm puts the mental well-being of its workers on a par with their physical health. Put mental health charity paraphernalia in the common areas and actively encourage your team to contact these charities should they ever need to.
Arrange regular one-to-ones with your employees, providing them with a platform to air any concerns or problems – personally or otherwise – which they may be experiencing.
Provide free counselling
Depending on your size, you may be in the position to offer a certain number of free sessions with a qualified counsellor should your employees ever need it. Some employee benefit programmes provide packages which include this, minimising the cost to the employer.
Identify common concerns and try to help
There are some triggers which are more prevalent in the construction industry. Although the exact figure is unknown, ex-army veterans make up a large portion of construction workers so it’s important that employers are mindful about these workers’ transition from their previous career on the front lines. Disorders such as PTSD may not manifest immediately so it’s important to be aware of the signs.
Similarly, financial worries are one of the many problems which lead to mental health issues among construction workers. According to a survey by The Prompt Payment Directory, half of SME construction business owners hit by late payment problems have suffered mental health issues as a result. Develop ways to safeguard your employees against this. Ensure client payments are made upfront or arrange payment plans for clients – in short, remove any concern that your employees will ever miss a month’s pay.
For more advice about how to support your team, get in touch with Mates in Mind.