Concrete Expo Blog

13 Feb 2024

5 TIPS TO TRANSFORM MENTAL HEALTH IN THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY BEYOND THE JANUARY BLUES

5 TIPS TO TRANSFORM MENTAL HEALTH IN THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY BEYOND THE JANUARY BLUES

(Photo credit: EJ Yao via Unsplash)

 

According to recent research by CIOB, the construction industry witnesses an average of two suicides daily, amounting to more than 700 each year. Long working hours, physical strain and the seasonal nature of some projects can further exacerbate these challenges, leading to increased vulnerability to mental health issues. Depression is a silent killer, and one that remains a key concern for the industry. But what steps can we take as a community to address these challenges?

In this blog, we'll explore the ongoing mental health challenges faces the construction industry and discuss strategies that companies can implement to tackle these issues past the January Blues.

Recognising the Challenges

January blues can affect anyone, but the construction industry presents its own set of challenges during winter and beyond. The combination of post-holiday stress, adverse weather conditions and potential financial pressures can contribute to feelings of unease and anxiety among construction workers. The ongoing challenges become more intense in January as we grapple with tight finances and the struggle to get back to work after the festive period, calling for increased mental health support.

Breaking the Stigma

One significant barrier to addressing mental health concerns in the construction industry is the pervasive stigma around opening up amongst peers. Employees may fear judgment or facing backlash for just acknowledging what they're going through. Companies can play a pivotal role in fostering a culture that normalises discussions around mental health. Open communication channels, employee assistance programs and destigmatising language in company policies are crucial steps in breaking down these barriers.

mentalblog2

(Photo credit: Josue Isai Ramos Figueroa via Unsplash)

 

Employee Well-being Initiatives 

To better support their workforce, construction companies can implement proactive well-being initiatives. Offering mental health resources, such as counselling services or workshops on stress management, can be instrumental. Providing flexible work schedules, encouraging breaks and promoting a healthy work-life balance can contribute to a positive and supportive work environment. By investing in the well-being of their employees, companies not only enhance productivity but also build a stronger and more resilient workforce.

Creating a Supportive Workplace Culture

A supportive workplace culture is essential for fostering good mental health. Construction companies can prioritise this by promoting teamwork, encouraging regular check-ins between supervisors and employees and creating an open and welcoming environment. Team-building activities, recognition programs and a transparent communication structure can contribute to a workplace where employees feel valued and supported, reducing the risk of mental health issues.

 

mentalblog3

(Photo credit: Ümit Yıldırım via Unsplash)

 

Here are 5 tips to help your employees:

  • Prioritise Mental Health Awareness Training: Train supervisors and managers to recognise signs of mental health struggles in their teams and provide them with the tools to address these issues compassionately.
  • Implement Flexible Policies: Recognise the unique challenges of the construction industry and implement flexible policies that accommodate the fluctuating nature of projects while ensuring employee well-being.
  • Promote Work-Life Balance: Encourage employees to take breaks, use their vacation time and maintain a healthy work-life balance. A well-rested and satisfied workforce is more likely to be mentally resilient.
  • Provide Accessible Support Services: Ensure that mental health support services are easily accessible to all employees. This can include employee assistance programs, counselling services and resources for managing stress and anxiety.
  • Encourage Open Communication: Foster an environment where employees feel comfortable discussing their mental health without fear of judgment or reprisal. Open communication is key to creating a supportive workplace culture.

 

If you are struggling, don’t hesitate to reach out:

  • Construction industry helpline: 0345 605 1956
  • Samaritans: 116 123
  • Mates in Mind: 020 3510 5018
  • Feeling low and need to talk? Text HARDHAT to 85258 – free, confidential support, 24/7

 

The journey towards improving mental health is ongoing and while there's a lot of work that needs to be done, the pivotal step of raising awareness to shatter the stigma cannot be overstated. By actively participating in the movement and engaging in transformative conversations, we can together collectively contribute to the broader cause. Let's forge a path towards positive change together.

 

At UK Construction Week London 2024 this May, we are proudly partnered with Construction Sport as we continue to highlight the importance of overcoming the stigma of mental health and break down the barriers. Find out more.

 

Register for your free ticket

View all Concrete Expo Blog
Loading

London Sponsors


 

Birmingham Sponsors

Partners

Previous Attendees