July is Talk to Us month and the Lighthouse Construction Club Industry Charity are raising awareness of the importance of talking about wellbeing issues with friends, colleagues and professional to prevent situations from spiralling to crisis point.
Working in construction can be extremely rewarding but has its challenges. Over 87% of the workforce are male which means they are less likely to talk about and share their problems.
In addition to this, long hours, tight deadlines and lack of job security can contribute significantly to poor mental health. Many contracts mean working away from home without the normal support network of family and friends, so trying to keep everyone happy including family, their boss, the main contractor and the client, can simply be too much.
Suicide is the biggest cause of death in men under the age of 50 with more than 5000 suicides in England in 2021, three-quarters were male. Men in their 40s and 50s make up a disproportionately high proportion of male suicides, around 40%, and is now a bigger killer in the construction industry than falls.
Talking about our feelings is much easier said than done. It can make us feel vulnerable and it’s not always easy to describe how we're feeling. But it's important to remember that talking about your feelings is not a sign of weakness. It’s part of taking charge of your wellbeing and doing what you can to stay healthy.
The Construction News ‘Mind Matters’ survey published last week identified a significant shift in construction’s mental health journey due to a change in attitudes about talking openly. 53 per cent of survey respondents said that they felt comfortable talking about their mental health with colleagues, compared with 33 per cent in 2019.
Keeping quiet can kill and we therefore urge everyone to continue to talk and speak openly about their feelings.
We never know who might be struggling so don't forget to check up on your friends, family and colleagues to see how they are coping.