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lighthouse launches construction mental health campaign.

World Day for Safety and Health at Work [1] is held annually on the 28th April, and its aim is to raise awareness of the need to prevent and reduce the number of accidents and diseases that occur in the workplace. Construction is an area where physical and mental stresses can take their toll so it is of vital importance that those in the industry consider what measures they can take to improve the physical and mental well-being of their employees, both on site and behind the scenes.

Help Inside The Hard Hat

Help Inside The Hard Hat [2] is an initiative launched by the construction industry charity, Lighthouse Club [3], to promote the resources and support that are available for construction workers who are struggling with their mental health.

Mental Health Statistics For The Construction Industry

Lighthouse Club was driven to launch this initiative following the very worrying statistic that two construction workers per working day take their own lives in the UK, with anxiety, stress and depression accounting for 20% of all work-related illnesses that are reported within the construction industry.

Statistics published by the Office for National Statistics in December 2022 [4] reported that 503 men and 4 women who were working within the construction industry took their own lives in 2021, which is a significant increase from 483 total in 2020. These worrying figures place the construction industry at the top of the leaderboard for occupations where incumbents are most likely to succumb to suicidal thoughts.

Lighthouse Club's Mental Health Campaign

To address this worrying upward trend, Lighthouse Club has developed a number of free resources, which include a mobile phone app and a 24/7 helpline. These resources and more are designed to provide those workers who are struggling to maintain motivation, suffering from low mood, low self esteem, or any other condition that is making their daily lives feel more challenging with the help that they need. 

There remains a stigma around mental health, with many construction workers unwilling to admit to feeling anxious or stressed in their roles, so this campaign not only aims to normalise mental health conditions but to provide targeted support and relief to those affected.

Alongside the helpline, Lighthouse Club has also developed a range of mental health training and signposting to help those that are struggling to access both self-care support and advice, as well as detailing the steps that they need to take to seek professional advice and assistance. 

Practical Changes Need To Be Forthcoming

The All-Party Parliamentary Group recently released a report [5] that recommended that procurement frameworks within the construction industry should include a mandatory section on mental health.

This seems to be a practical starting point, with Pagabo, which is a national framework provider, already including mental health provisions within its construction contracts [6]. They have taken this measure in order to normalise what is often perceived to be a taboo topic and report that initial feedback is encouraging. By including and weighting questions related to mental health provision within bid documentation, they have successfully determined a method whereby their contractors must demonstrate their commitment and accountability with regard to the mental health provision that they offer their staff in order to win construction contracts.

Another construction company at the forefront of mental health initiatives is Laing O'Rourke. Since winning a Silver Award in mental health charity Mind's Workplace Wellbeing Index in 2018 [7], they have continued to demonstrate their commitment to their employees' well-being which is evidenced by the continued praise [8] that they receive from staff and customers alike for their positive and accepting culture.

Lighthouse Club firmly believes that employers need to take proactive measures to identify staff who are struggling and to put in place the support that they need. This can include implementing a buddy system to prevent loneliness, talking breaks where staff are able to speak openly and honestly about their experiences, and implementing targeted well-being support to help staff to feel confident, trusted and valued at work.

At Build Space, we believe that people are the most important asset in any business and must be treated with the care that they deserve. We would encourage any employers looking to implement well-being measures to take specialist advice from the Construction Industry Helpline [9] or Lighthouse Club.



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