Over the past few years, mental health has been encouraged to be spoken about a lot more and is now (rightfully so) an important everyday ‘staple’ that is at the forefront of many peoples’ and business owners’ minds. With all of the turbulent events that have occurred in the news over the last couple of years, it has definitely been a difficult time for a lot of people around the UK. Mental health in the construction industry is known to be especially neglected in many areas. In this article, we look at Mental Health Awareness Week, and the importance of being mindful of workers mental health during and beyond Mental Health Awareness Week.
When Is Mental Health Awareness Week?
Mental Health Awareness Week falls from Monday 9th May to Sunday 15th May and seeks to start conversations about mental health that might otherwise feel “taboo”, reducing the stigma around discussing mental health issues. Each year has a theme, and this year the theme is “loneliness”.
Loneliness is one of the main feelings that was exacerbated by the global pandemic, and millions of people in the UK are impacted by loneliness. Feeling lonely and isolated reduces your ability to make connections with others. This can impact anyone, including those who work in construction.
Wellbeing In The Construction Industry
Unfortunately, research shows that wellbeing in the construction industry has declined overall, with a study showing that 83% of construction industry employees had experienced some form of poor mental health. Mila Maintenance & Installation is committed to ensuring the well-being of our employees. Our Health and Safety policy is designed not just to keep them and their customers safe onsite but also protect and improve their health in general. Managers are encouraged to talk to their teams about Mental Health, to recognise signs of issues, to not place any unnecessary burdens on employees and to offer support and counselling when issues are identified.
Underreporting and Mental Health
Why is poor mental health in construction industry roles such a widespread problem? It partly has to do with the gender balance in construction. Being a largely male industry, we can see how men often fall into a routine which involves minimal communication when they are suffering from a problem when on a site, worsening existing issues. Managers and teams leaders developing close relationships with their teams makes it easier to identify potential problems and encourage people to raise any issues that they have.
People working on a site should be trained in the signs of depression, anxiety and similar common mental health issues so that the right support can be provided to colleagues. You should also develop your internal strategies for raising awareness and providing a safe place for workers to source support to tackle their mental health.
Being aware of the importance of employee wellbeing and mental health support should go far beyond Mental Health Awareness Week, but this is a good place to begin those tough conversations. At Mila Maintenance, we are highly attuned to these needs and have policies and procedures in place, covered by our robust Health and Safety policy. We use this, and the proactive approach of our staff, to more effectively support better mental health in the construction industry UK-wide.
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