The suicide rate for male construction workers is three times higher than those who don’t work in the industry. This grim statistic shows that individuals working in construction face huge challenges and difficulties on a regular basis.
Working in the construction industry means that workers face long hours, often working away from home and on-site for lengthy periods of time. Added to this is the unpredictability of the industry, which provides perhaps just a few contributing factors to workers poor mental health.
The construction industry is a largely male-dominated one, and as such there is often a widely held image that may dissuade workers from opening up and talking about their feelings and emotions.
The industry must take steps to address this crisis.
Employers in the construction industry need to prioritise the mental health of their workers, so that they can ensure that the workforce is happy and healthy.
Construction companies should ensure that there is a culture that works with employees to establish the pressure points and where stress derives from in the job. This will allow employers to work on addressing the issues that they may uncover and initiate a shift in culture towards a healthier working environment for employees.
Employees should also be made aware and supported with seeking help and accessing services for counselling and therapy. Employers can ensure this happens as a result of taking stock of their current working culture and changing aspects of it so that employees feel comfortable and have an understanding of where they can get help, should they ever need it.
Another key way to ensure that workers in the construction industry have access to support when it comes to their mental health is to implement a system of peer support. Employees can be educated so that they can spot the signs of mental health struggles and begin by having a conversation with their peers. This not only opens a dialogue between colleagues, it also allows those suffering with mental health to feel supported, and not isolated during their time of need.
Removing the Stigma
Mental health has a stigma attached, and this is something that may make an individual worried to discuss their problems. Workplaces can ensure that workers feel comfortable and the stigma is removed by ensuring that employees are sensitive with the type of language they use and create an open environment to ensure that those who may be suffering with their mental health feel like they can openly talk about the issues that they are experiencing.
It goes without saying that the health and safety of employees in the industry is taken very seriously, but now, it’s more important than ever to ensure that the mental health of employees is considered in the same vein. Both employees and employers should consider mental health to be an important factor in their working environments, and it’s essential that society begin to consider just how much of an issue the mental health of an individual can be.
Mental health needs to be taken as seriously as physical health in the construction industry.
Lydon Contracting Ltd
Tel: 01327 811533