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Shocking mental health survey sparks leaders into action

More industry leaders have come forward to respond to “shocking” results revealed in an exclusive Construction News survey on mental health.  

The research, conducted as part of CN’s Mind Matters campaign, revealed that one in four construction workers had considered taking their own life.

A staggering 55 per cent of workers had experienced mental health issues and 42 per cent had suffered these issues at their current place of work. 

Senior figures spoke out about the issue to CN including Bam Nuttall boss Steve Fox, Carillion chief executive Richard Howson and Osborne Communities MD Nick Sterling.  

Now more industry figures have responded to the survey results.

Cast Consultancy’s chief executive Mark Farmer told CN the survey is “massively important”.

“The stress and the strain of working in construction can’t be underestimated, so the recognition that mental health is a big problem in the construction industry is no surprise,” he said.  

“Shining a light on mental health is absolutely the right thing to do.”

Mott MacDonald technical director Iain MacGregor said mental health is a “serious issue” but had been “hidden away”.

He said: “I’ve had my own issues and know others who have too. It’s good to see Construction News taking this on – it’s a serious issue and deserves the time spent on it.”

Willmott Dixon Midlands construction managing director Peter Owen described the results of the survey as “shocking”.

He added: “It heightens the issue and the need for our industry to deal with it. 

“We have the right culture to approach this, but we have to focus on how we can deal with the issue down the supply chain.”

Canary Wharf Contractors managing director and chairman of the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity Cormac MacCrann said that mental health was “no longer the elephant in the room”.

He said: “As a result of campaigns like CN’s Mind Matters, we are beginning to realise that the mental health of our workforce is just as important as its physical wellbeing.”

Alinea consultancy partner Mark Lacey said mental health represented a “huge issue for construction” and said he commended the Mind Matters campaign.

“I was shocked by the statistics on suicide,” he said. “It’s a taboo subject, especially in a male-dominated construction site and workplace.”

He added: “Mental health is not something people want to talk about.”

Construction News is making mental health awareness one of its core themes for 2017 through its editorial campaign, Mind Matters. 

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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