Sadly, the construction industry has the highest suicide rates of any sector. As part of their Wellbeing Strategy, one of this contractors projects launched a month-long communications awareness campaign, triggered by World Suicide Prevention Day.
The communications centred around three key messages:
- For those struggling – it’s OK to talk about mental health and suicide and there is support on site
- For all of those on site – each of us can help raise awareness, reduce the stigma and reach out to colleagues to offer support
- For employers including all trades – it is time to act to ensure the right culture, practices and support are in place
Activities included email communications from the Project Director, posters of support available internally and externally, different briefings to each stakeholder group (e.g. Trade directors, operatives, construction managers, H&S managers, those working from home), and Toolbox Talks for trades on site to use to reach their operatives.
A H&S engagement tour across site focused on mental health and wellbeing and an information stall about World Suicide Prevention Day had a lot of visits from site workers interested in helping colleagues or wanting to share their experiences of suicide survival or loss of a loved one.
As a result, more workers on site and in offices are looking out for their colleagues. Already they have heard that people are taking more notice of how their co-workers are, talking to them and referring them to the MHFAs and other support resources. Some trades have committed to reviewing their own mental health practices, policies and support to alleviate the risk of suicide amongst their workers.