The World Health Organisation defines “mental health” as “a state of wellbeing in which the individual realises their abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and are able to contribute to their community.”
Construction workers are particularly at risk of suffering with poor mental health given the pressures put upon such as working to tight deadlines, long hours and in some cases time away from loved ones.
It is also hard to escape the “macho” culture which is prevalent in the predominantly male environment which prevents many workers from seeking help which only exacerbates their stress and anxiety.
Over 700 people who work in the industry die by suicide every year in the UK which equates to two per day, while 91% of workers have felt overwhelmed and 26% have had suicidal thoughts, according to the Chartered Institute of Building.
Therefore, at Murraywood Construction we have trained six Mental Health First Aiders and rolled out Mental Health Awareness to site managers, supervisors and anyone that wants to learn more on the issue.
We have ensured that all their sites have adequate information on their H & S Board regarding the issue and clear details of who to contact if they have anxieties, stress or concerns in total confidence.
In November 2019, Murraywood Construction Limited also signed the Building Mental Health Charter as a supported. This means that we, as a company, are dedicated to creating awareness and aid those suffering from Mental Ill Health.
Our Mental Health First Aiders
Construction is an industry which is heavily stereotyped as not allowing us to talk about issues we may have, and our mental health and reputation suffers because of this. However, courses like the mental health first aid one I did show we are trying to improve for our teams on site and make sure everyone gets home safe both physically and mentally – Tom Muse
Given construction has been known as a “macho” environment, it is now more important than ever to highlight that it’s okay not to be okay both physically and mentally.
Mental health covers a full spectrum of feelings, from complete elation down to severe depression or feelings of irrelevance. We are all more than happy to talk about the good feelings, however we all need to become more comfortable talking about the bad feelings to prevent further descent.
Our workforce is continually gaining knowledge and qualification to better enable the support of those who need guiding to help. The subtle, private words: “I’m here if you need to talk about anything,” can be a lifeline to those who feel invisible, and with those words a doorway to recovery is opened – Thomas McBain
Our industry is known for staying silent when it comes to talking about mental health but we’re on a mission to turn that around and get people talking. Asking for help can take a lot of courage, but we want our workforce to know they can come to us if they’re feeling overwhelmed or having problems personally or at work – Simon Ball
It’s okay to ask for help if you’re struggling mentally in the same way it’s okay to ask for help if you injure yourself at work. Mental health is just as important as physical health – it’s important we all look after each other on and off site – Simon Clifton
Doing a mental health first aid course was really beneficial as now I’m able to better help those on site who may be suffering with a mental health issue. I’m pleased the construction industry is starting to take mental health seriously again after years of neglecting such a crucial problem – Kris Wilkinson