The Workers Union has backed more mental health support for construction workers.
In a statement released this morning, a spokesperson for the organisation said: ‘The macho image of hard men in hard hats persists in the public imagination, but the building trade faces a mental health epidemic. It’s time to look past the cliches and help workers access the help and support they need.’
The union’s announcement came after a recent report by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), the Construction Industry Council (CIC) and NESCAFÉ revealed that nearly half of UK construction workers feel lonely at work. The ‘Make Chat Work’ campaign also revealed that eight out of ten construction workers think more opportunities to chat to colleagues during coffee breaks would challenge feelings of loneliness and isolation.
The findings echo the conclusions of a recent All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on issues affecting men and boys, which recommended the inclusion of mental health provisions in construction workers’ contracts.
The scale of the problem has also been recognised at a local level. In recent weeks, Nigel Evans, the Conservative MP for Ribble Valley in Lancashire, attended a Parliamentary reception with the Home Builders Federation (HBF). The reception was held to highlight the issue of poor mental health in home building and raise awareness of the HBF – and the charity Lighthouse Club’s – work in tackling the issue.
The partnership has trained 1,000 mental health workers across the sector, and developers are providing additional support through mental health awareness training.
Mr Evans said: ‘For many there is a real stigma surrounding poor mental health and I congratulate the federation and Lighthouse Club for their work and strongly welcome what they are doing to tackle this in the homes building industry, ensuring every construction worker knows there is mental health support available to them and how to access it.”
The chief executive of the HBF, Stewart Baseley, said: ‘We cannot afford to be complacent and there is still much more work to be done to promote the importance of good mental health and create a culture where everyone feels comfortable to admit that they are not ‘okay’ without fear of judgement.’
The Workers Union Says…
The problem of poor mental health in the construction industry is not a new one. Back in 2021, The Workers Union covered a similar story and called for more to be done to address the issue.
While it’s clear that huge strides have been made, It is therefore beholden on employers to do more to recognise the problem and create supportive cultures that reduce isolation and encourage people to talk about their problems.