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Mind Matters: CN launches mental health campaign

Construction News today vows to make mental health awareness one of its core themes for 2017 with the launch of an editorial campaign, Mind Matters.

We are launching an industry-wide survey and calling on all professionals employed in the construction industry to help shape the future of mental health awareness.

This industry employs more than two million people, but is still described as a ‘macho’ sector, one where mental health is still a stigma and people are discouraged from speaking openly about mental health for fear of weakness.

Why this campaign matters:

  • One in four adults in the UK experiences mental health issues.
  • It is estimated that the number of deaths from suicide in the construction industry could be 10 times higher than those from fatal accidents at work.
  • A CIOB survey last year found 68.2 per cent of respondents had suffered from stress, anxiety or depression as a direct result of working in the construction industry.
  • A Ucatt survey found that of people who had suffered from mental illness, 44 per cent had time off due to mental health issues but 75 per cent had not raised their problems with management.

The issue is not new. This campaign will not take away from the good work being done by charities and existing construction organisations, who have helped CN to launch this survey.

Our campaign launch deliberately coincides with the Mates in Mind launch in London today. Our aim is to lobby the industry to take mental health seriously and pledge to make a difference.

But we want to promote existing initiatives and signpost people who may need support towards existing helplines and services.

We promise to champion the cause, shine a light on the issue in our industry and commit to using our resources and reach with senior industry leaders to make a positive change.

How will we do this?

We have five main campaign aims:

Today CN launches an industry survey to better understand and highlight the scale of mental health issues within the construction industry. This report will be produced and published free online, as well as a copy being sent to the health secretary Jeremy Hunt, prime minister Theresa May, Mind chief executive Paul Farmer and NHS England’s Mental Health Taskforce.

We will host a dedicated online hub offering news, analysis, comment and advice for people who may have mental health issues, as well as contact numbers for relevant support organisations.

We support the Health in Construction Leadership Group and the Mates in Mind programme. We will work with Mates in Mind to try to improve mental health awareness and training.

We support CECA’s Stop. Make a Change day on 18 April. Sites, offices and manufacturing facilities are being asked to stop work from 10am until noon on the day to allow staff and suppliers to discuss challenges on four key issues: respiratory illness, plant safety, fatigue and mental health. CN will visit sites on the day and host a homepage takeover on the subject of mental health on 18 April.

We are asking construction leaders and professionals to show their support for this issue by adding their name and pledging one or more actions they will take to support mental health awareness among their colleagues and employees in 2017. Use the hashtag #CNmind when tweeting about your pledge.

How can you help?

Take our industry survey now. It is anonymous and should take no more than 10 minutes to complete. Encourage your colleagues and peers to take the survey and help inform the debate.

Sign up to our campaign and pledge to promote and talk about mental health. Tell us how you will make a difference in your business in 2017.

Read guidance by mental health charity Mind on how to identify and provide support for mental health issues.

Who can I talk to?

If you or someone you know has been affected by the issues covered in this campaign, there are a number of resources and helplines that can offer support. 

Readers' comments (1)

  • Hi
    First of all may I say how grateful I am to be able to have a medium through which I can have some input.
    I am a bricklayer by trade and over the years I have developed interests in health and fitness and more recently I have qualified as a meditation teacher with The British School of Meditation.
    I am also qualified as a fitness instructor and a Sports massage therapist.
    In my experience I have found that there is a lack of communication at all levels in the construction industry.
    Mental health is compromised when a person feels unsafe.
    We feel unsafe when we do not have enough information or the correct materials to carry out a task or tasks.
    I think that there are many intelligent people working in construction but they lack the necessary training to be able to plan the actual tasks in a way that reduces stress for themselves and those around them.
    I have witnessed it so often.The manager constantly trying to fix things instead of identifying potential situations before they occur.
    I have never in recent years seen any manager with a note book.To walk around a large site and talk to a load of people, then remember what the requirements of each and every one are by the time you get back to the office is totally impossible.
    I hope you find my comments of some use as I have a huge interest in Mental Health.
    Thanks.
    Paul Bonner BSoM.

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