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Mental Health Crisis In Construction: How to scale wellbeing improvement

Construction, People, Wellbeing

Published 17th May 23 - by Gemma Laws

Mental Health Awareness Week is an important reminder to think about mental health, tackle stigma, and explore how to prevent mental health problems.

The construction industry continues to face a mental health crisis in worker wellbeing that shows no signs of improvement. Rather, current statistics indicate the situation is getting worse.

Around 20% of all cases of ill health in the sector are due to stress, anxiety, or depression (with the true number of cases likely being higher due to a lack of reporting and recording). As a result, over 400,000 workdays are lost each year.

According to the Office for National Statistics, construction workers are three times more likely to see suicide than workers in any other industry. And if you are working in construction trades or groundworks, that number is even higher – about eight times more likely.

Systemic problems such as long hours, lack of diversity (with construction being a male-dominated industry), lack of employer awareness & support, extended time working away from home, and the precarious nature of many construction projects are all contributing factors to this crisis.

Making Wellbeing Visible

We must act now to drive positive change in wellbeing in the industry and ultimately save lives. In order to make a sustained change at the levels and the pace that we need to, this action needs to be a collaborative effort.

The new Make It Visible web portal aims to combat mental health problems facing the built environment industry by providing free wellbeing support to workers and their families.

To mark the launch of the portal, the School is hosting a virtual conference on Wednesday 24th May to discuss the importance of creating an effective wellbeing culture, how to work together to scale improvements in welfare and wellbeing, and the practical steps companies can take.

Attendees will hear from experts from CITB, Considerate Constructors Scheme, Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity and Ripple & Co. along with major contractors, including Canary Wharf Contractors, Lendlease, L Lynch and Speedy Services.

Find out more about our ‘Scaling Wellbeing & Welfare Improvement in the Built Environment: #MakeItVisible Launch’ conference here.

Written by Lyndsey Morrison, the Wellbeing Lead at the Supply Chain Sustainability School.