Building Better Support: Mental Health in the Construction Industry
World Mental Health Day hit hashtag highs this month, bringing to light the need for ever increasing awareness around the topic of mental health both inside and outside of the workplace.
The powerful movement which took place on the 10th of October aims to spark dialogue about all issues surrounding mental health, making it pivotal for those who perhaps require support and have felt unable to reach out for it. The campaign also appeals to professional organisations to continue to put the mental wellbeing of their staff at the forefront of their minds, with the strong message that mental health is as important as physical health.
First celebrated in 1992, World Mental Health Day is a globally recognised day for mental health education and advocacy against social stigma. It aims to remind us that in the age of rat racing and social media, becoming overwhelmed is rather normal and that everyone should take care of their own wellbeing and that of others. In a society heavily reliant on tech, the popularity of “mindfulness apps” has skyrocketed alongside the growing recognition of mental health in modern life, becoming powerful portable tools that can allow you to just take a moment just about anywhere – even when on your morning commute.
The NHS lists mindfulness as one of the five steps to mental wellbeing – and in practice, it is as simple as living in the present moment, treating thoughts as passing events (rather than dwelling on them) and paying attention to your current activity, such as tasting your food or feeling the breeze on your skin. Some psychologists have likened mindfulness to “thinking like a toddler”, noting that we have much to learn from children who will notice smaller details on a walk to school such as a spider’s web or pattern of clouds – in comparison to an adult who may already be feeling stressed about what awaits them in the office in an hours’ time.
Mental health issues can affect any person of any background and no one is immune to stress, anxiety or depression. This means that regardless of profession or industry, employers need to prioritise education on these matters in the workplace. Statistically, every working day two construction workers take their own life. It is difficult to comprehend staggering figures such as this and it is this kind of shocking statistic that World Mental Health Day aims to combat in the hope of preventing the struggles of valuable workers and putting the right support in place to avoid anyone having to feel alone.
But what can be done for construction industry workers?
In construction, we tend to think of safety as a purely physical issue and place high importance on our staff not becoming injured or unwell – but we need to also pay that same attention to the aspects of life and work that can affect employees in other ways. Volunteer organisation Building Mental Health suggests training staff in Mental Health First Aid and having regular interactive talks with employees around mental health issues with a view to starting conversations. Another useful benefit could be a helpline for your staff which can be publicised around site – if you do not have this facility, The Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity also offer a 24/7 helpline.
How else can you look after your staff?
A tracking system from Phantom helps to keep your staff safe on the road by monitoring traffic situations and driver behaviour. Habits such as speeding can be quickly brought to your attention, as can the whereabouts of each vehicle in your fleet should an emergency arise.
To provide a safer working life for your colleagues, call 0161 476 4050 to find out more about our range of tracking systems, today.