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Mental health issues account for third of industry's absences

Mental health issues are the third most common reason for workplace absences among contractors, new research shows.

According to research conducted by ECIS Insurance Service, mental health issues accounted for 13 per cent of all employee absences in the contracting sector.

This is based on sick pay claims made to the ECIS from January to December 2016.

General sickness, colds and bugs accounted for 15 per cent of all absences and the most common reason for time taken off was musculoskeletal conditions which stood at 48 per cent.

ECIS also reported a 20 per cent increase in health insurance claims for mental health conditions in the contracting sector between 2013 and 2016.

But according to ECIS client relationship manager Vicki Leslie, this accounted for a “tiny proportion” of all health insurances claims the firm manages.

She said: “There’s a real disconnect between the number of workers suffering from mental health issues such as stress, anxiety and depression and those taking action to address the problem by seeking professional treatment.

Ms Leslie also urged employers to “take up an active role in promoting mental health and wellbeing”.

Exclusive research conducted by Construction News into mental health in the construction industry revealed one in four construction workers had considered suicide.

This rose to one in three among junior and graduate-level employees.

Based on responses from 1,139 people across the industry, CN’s Mind Matters survey also revealed 55 per cent of respondents have experienced mental health issues.

This rose to 64 per cent among junior and graduate-level employees.

Leaders from contractors including Amey, Bam Construct, Bam Nuttall, Carillion, Canary Wharf Contractors, Mott MacDonald, Murphy, Osborne, Robertson, Skanska and Willmott Dixon responded to the survey results.

Mind Matters

Find all our coverage and content on mental health, as part of our Mind Matters campaign online.

Follow and join the conversation via social media: #CNmind

Today, CECA’s North-east branch publicly backed CN’s mental health campaign.

CECA (NE) chairman Mike Coulson said: “All society is awaking to the issue of mental health in our country. Yet I think poor mental health is often shied away from in construction.”  

Following next month’s general election, CN will present the results of our survey to the prime minister and health secretary.

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