Two members of the construction industry die by suicide every working day in the UK.
Construction workers are three times more likely to end their own life than employees in other industries.
Over a quarter of construction workers have considered taking their own lives.
These are harrowing figures that have helped to spark a debate in the industry, and have coincided with a growing awareness in society to the disproportionate number of young males that end their own lives.
But despite growing awareness, there is still a long way to go.
Figures from Mates in Mind suggest that just 13% of construction workers have sought counselling to help with issues like anxiety, stress and depression. Only 18% have discussed such issues with their GP.
To support the point, Bill Hill, CEO of Lighthouse Club, recounted the story of its ‘Make it Visible’ campaign with Ford, which has been visiting sites to discuss mental health. Of the 6,000 workers they have seen, he estimates just 10% were aware of The Lighthouse Club and its services.
And the underlying issues contributing to mental health epidemic – heavy workloads, poor work/life balance and financial issues – all remain. If anything, the current economic climate will make things tougher.
With an estimated 56% of the entire construction sector either self-employed, agency workers or on zero-hour contracts, there is an enormous proportion of the workforce operating without a safety net.
While many enjoy the freedom of being their own boss and the greater earning potential it offers, self-employment or sub-contracting deprives tradespeople of a professional support network.
Even those working for a construction firm aren’t guaranteed better mental health support. According to a report from the Chartered Institute of Building, 56% of construction workers are employed by firms without mental health policies.
Starting on World Mental Health Day (Monday 10th October) and running for a week, Fix Radio, the Builders Station is raising awareness about mental health in the trades.
Throughout the week, on The Clive Holland Show, we will interview tradespeople, charity fundraisers, social media influencers and the odd ageing sports star so they can share their experiences and help break the stigma around mental health.
If you or someone you know is struggling at the moment there are a range of resources available to help you out, we’ve listed some of them below.
Tel: 0300 015 4808
Tel: 0345 609 1956
Tel 020 3510 5018
Tel: 0300 123 3393
Tel: 116 123
Tel: 0300 304 7000 (out of hours hotline between 4pm and 10 pm)