In March 2015, the Scheme’s campaign focused on mental health and looked at what the industry was doing to raise awareness and support the workforce regarding this issue.
Spotlight on… mental health not only introduced facts regarding mental health and wellbeing, it also highlighted current awareness campaigns, what is being done by the industry and showcased examples of best practice witnessed within the industry.
The response the Scheme received from the industry once ‘Spotlight on… mental health’ launched was fantastic, which has been reflected by the response to the Scheme’s survey, researching mental health within the construction industry.
There are already a number of campaigns and examples of best practice around this topic, however there is still much that can be done to raise awareness and support issues surrounding mental health.
Mental Health Awareness Week which ran from the 11th– 17th May 2015 focused on mental health and wellbeing issues with the theme ‘Mindfulness’. Registered sites, companies and suppliers should embrace this annual opportunity to support Mental Health Awareness Week, and for examples of how you could achieve this, please click here.
As part of the Scheme’s campaign a survey was developed and released to the construction industry to gain a better understanding of the extent of the issues surrounding mental health and how it is currently being tackled. The survey received over 300 responses, and the Scheme identified the following:
- 58% of participants have (or have worked with someone who has) suffered from mental health issues
- 63% felt unable to speak to anyone about these issues
- 33% stated that there is no support available
- 79% do not feel there is enough information and awareness available about mental health at work
- 47% do not know if their company has a mental health policy
- 77% have suffered from work related stress, with 71% being absent as a result
- 63% of stress sufferers were able to explain the true reason for their absence to management, with half of respondents experiencing support and understanding from their employers
- 66% of respondents benefit from an open door policy at work, providing a platform to highlight and discuss any issues affecting them.
To enable the industry to effectively address the issue of mental health in the workplace and to adopt measures to alleviate factors contributing to mental health, participants were asked what they consider to be the biggest impact of mental health in the workplace.
30% identified management attitudes and expectations to be the biggest impact, closely followed by 24% feeling work deadlines and pressures was a contributing factor.
Analysis of the results has also highlighted a common theme; there is currently a lack of information and awareness regarding mental health at work, with a significant number of respondents being unaware of mental health policies implemented. The industry as a whole should make a significant effort to rectify these findings, to increase awareness of mental health and better inform employees of the support available to those affected.
Despite these shortcomings, it is important to acknowledge that although a high proportion of the workforce suffers from work-related stress, the majority of respondents were able to tell senior management and seek support through an open door policy at work, demonstrating best practice currently implemented within the industry.
It is clear that there is still much work to be done to remove the stigma associated with mental health, so those affected feel able to talk about these issues. Sites, companies and suppliers can do this by raising awareness, discussing any issues in an open forum such as inductions or toolbox talks, being understanding and supportive and not trying to push issues or problems to one side.
Following the release of the Scheme’s ‘Spotlight on… mental health’ feature, Time to Change have launched their ‘Get the Picture’ campaign to discourage stigmatising images associated with mental health. In order to support this campaign and help to accurately address the issues surrounding mental health to the public, the Scheme encourages the industry to suggest alternative images to better illustrate the issues surrounding mental health, whilst also highlighting this important message to the construction industry.
Since the Scheme’s campaign a number of sites, companies and suppliers have got in touch to demonstrate what they have done to tackle this issue.
Click here to access ‘Spotlight on… mental health’
- The site used the CCS Spotlight on pamphlets and delivered specific Toolbox talks, as well as introducing an ‘Understanding stress and how to manage it’ document. The document highlighted specific areas and included a seven page stress risk assessment which included worker fatigue. This was in addition to the occupational health and wellbeing flowchart which included mental health and fatigue; the site manager also downloaded the Construction Industry Helpline pamphlet and purchased a quantity of wristbands.
- A range of methods to communicate mental health issues to the workforce were adopted on site. A mental health document, ‘Managing stress’, was developed and implemented by the management team, encapsulated into a 14 page document complete with a detailed questionnaire and information. Trade supervisors attended a talk entitled ‘CALM’ to raise further awareness of mental health issues and spotting the signs, and copies of booklets covering a range of mental health issues were made available, including the Construction Industry Helpline and Lighthouse Club charity posters and booklets.
- The site manager had undertaken a stress questionnaire with members of the workforce. As a result of this, one operative was identified with significant stress and, following a discussion, the operative was given time off to resolve some personal issues. Posters addressing various mental health issues were also displayed around site.
- Mace has recognised the seriousness of work-related stress and introduced Stressbands as a simple, effective way to encourage their workforce to identify signs of stress, health and wellbeing. Click here to find out more.
- Mates in Mind is a charitable programme to promote positive mental health in the construction industry. Established by the Health in Construction Leadership Group and the British Safety Council, the initiative provides resources and training on the issue of mental health. Mates in Mind aims to reach 75% of the construction workforce by 2025. Click here to find out more.
- Construction News’s ‘Mind Matters’ campaign seeks to lobby the industry to tackle mental health problems in construction. This involves an industry-wide survey, an online hub of news and advice, and encouraging leading industry figures to take a pledge. The campaign is working in collaboration with other charities and services, including Mates in Mind. Click here to find out more. To see the full results of the ‘Mind Matters’ industry survey, click here.
- On April 18 2017, thousands of sites across the country took part in a stand down organised by Stop. Make a Change. They took this time to discuss key health and wellbeing issues, with many sites choosing to focus on mental health. For more information, click here.
- Galliford Try have launched a new wellbeing programme ‘Be Well’ which includes support resources for employees and a commitment to training mental health first aiders. Read more here.
- Mental Health First Aid is an educational course available for any member of the workforce, from on-site operatives to HR managers, to better equip people to address and support colleagues with mental health issues. This course teaches individuals how to identify, understand and support a person who may be developing mental health issues. To find out more, click here.
- Mind offer mental health training, consultancy and coaching which aims to promote mental wellbeing in your organisation to encourage a positive, healthy and productive workplace culture.
- Counselling Life Advice Suicide Prevention Charity (CLASP) aim to confront the stigma surrounding mental health and stress-related illness, emotional trauma and suicide. CLASP seeks to achieve this through events such as the ‘Walking Out of Darkness’ charity walk, which took place during Mental Health Awareness week in London on Saturday 16th May 2015.
- A CIPD news article focusing on stress in the workplace suggested that witnessing aggression at work can have a detrimental effect on wellbeing. To read the full article, click here.
- As part of their ‘Mind Matters’ campaign, Construction News have drawn attention to new data from the Office of National Statistics about suicides in construction between 2011 and 2015. Among the key findings was that during this period there were more suicides in construction than in any other profession, with construction workers 63% more likely to die by suicide than the national average. Read the full article here.
- In March 2017, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) held its first Stress Summit, vowing to focus attention on work-related stress. The HSE is conducting pilot projects in public sector industries to devise procedures and interventions to tackle workplace stress; they hope to release this guidance by 2020. For more information, click here.
- Acas offer e-learning courses for managers including one about mental health awareness and another on addressing bullying and harassment. The courses are available for free for registered users. Find out more here.
- In September 2017, recruitment agency Randstad released a report detailing their findings in a survey of 3,400 construction workers about mental health. Among the key findings was that more than a third of construction workers had experienced a mental health condition in the last 12 months. Read the full report here.
If you would like to share how your company is raising awareness of mental health issues, please contact the Scheme by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org