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HAKI

5 posts worth reading this Mental Health Awareness Week

Did you know that risk of suicide is 1.6 times higher than the UK national average in the building and construction industries?

We were shocked too.

In a bid to help break the stigma around mental health issues, and in support of Mental Health Awareness Week 2019 (13 – 19 May), we have gathered 5 recent news and blog posts that identify some of the concerns in the building and construction sectors and steps we can take to improve mental wellbeing.

#1 Construction employers and staff mental health

By Daniel Ure, @ThisWeekinFM

This article highlights some of the reasons why mental health issues are particularly prominent in the construction industry.

Although anyone can suffer with mental health disorders, research shows that men are more vulnerable to issues. So, in an industry where men make up 89% of the workforce, it’s not surprising that mental health is a big concern.

However, it’s not just gender impacting the industry. Ure also mentions that “the working environment, where speaking about emotional or mental issues has historically been stigmatised, is also to blame, as the ‘macho’ image of construction workers makes it difficult to talk about mental health”.

Employers can help address the stigma by creating supportive cultures, educating employees, encouraging open lines of communication, and putting a support system in place.

#2 New app to support construction workers mental health

By @PBC_Today

In December 2018, the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity, COINS and Building Mental Health launched a new mental health app, specifically for the construction industry.

The ‘Construction Industry Helpline’ app gives information, advice and guidance on wellbeing topics like stress, anxiety, depression, anger and suicidal thoughts.

Users can also call the Construction Industry Helpline or the Samaritans direct from the app, in times of need.

The free app can be downloaded by anyone in the construction industry via the App Store or Google Play store.

For more information about the app and charities involved, read the article.

#3 Mental health in the construction industry

By @GrafterNow

Recognising the alarmingly high percentage of in-work suicides by those in the construction and building trades, GRAFTER lists some of the support available to employers and workers in the industries.

In addition to Construction Industry Helpline app, mentioned above, the blog also provides links to:

  • The mental health section of the Pro Builder website, dedicated to news and initiatives looking at how tradespeople are dealing with mental health issues and tips on coping with situations that can impact mental health
  • Charities like Mates in Mind, which aims to provide clear information to employers on available support and guidance on mental illnesses and wellbeing

#4 How do you recognise if someone has a mental health issue, and what can you do about it?

By @BBC

At any one time, 1 in 6 of us is experiencing a common mental disorder – and some of us may not even know it or be suffering in silence.

This post lists some of the signs that someone might be at risk to a mental health issue, including being withdrawn, losing sense of humour, displaying changes in appetite and increasing alcohol consumption.

It also identifies some of the ways you could help someone you know, if you think they are at risk of mental health difficulties. These include:

  • Start by saying you’ve noticed a change in their mood or behaviour – without being critical
  • Say you’re concerned and ask if they’d like to talk
  • Don’t downplay their problems
  • Listen and give them space
  • Encourage them to see their GP or offer to go with them to see a health professional
  • If you think they’re at risk of suicide, you can call the emergency services, or call their GP for an emergency appointment

#5 How to look after your mental health

By @MentalHealth

As well as looking out for others, you should also be taking time to care for your own mental health.

This next post addresses 10 practical ways you can look after yourself, from talking about your feelings and keeping active, to eating well and taking breaks.

These simple lifestyle changes can help you improve your own mental health wellbeing, but can also be shared with your friends, family and colleagues to support them too!

Join HAKI in raising awareness of mental health by sharing this post on social media between the 13th and 19th May 2019, using #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek.