The Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity, founder of ‘Building Mental Health’, an online portal set up by active industry volunteers discusses the five-step framework to help the construction sector develop a positive mental health culture
The Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity is the only charity that provides financial and emotional support to the construction community and their families. Building Mental Health provides a 24/7 Construction Industry Helpline which is the first point of contact to access a range of completely free and confidential support services including;
- Emergency Financial aid to construction families in crisis
- Advice on welfare and mental wellbeing
- Support on legal, tax and debt management matters.
Last year the charity’s helpline received 1,662 calls and provided £1.25m of support to construction families in crisis. This year they are seeing a huge increase in demand for their charitable services and rely heavily on the generosity of those within the industry to ‘help their own’.
The five-step framework
Commit to making a difference
Change in the workplace starts with your management. Sign the Building Mental Health Charter and make a commitment to improving mental health in our industry.
Sign the charter: www.buildingmentalhealth.net.
Introduce a helpline
If you haven’t already got an Employee Assistance Programme, order your Construction Industry Helpline Pack, which lets your staff know where they can turn to with promotional posters and wallet-sized cards.
Order a helpline pack: www.contrusctionindustryhelpline.com.
Alternatively, you can download the Construction Industry Helpline App which is a preventative tool providing support and guidance on a range of physical and mental wellbeing issues. The app can be downloaded free of charge from the app store or google play.
Deliver a mental health toolbox talk
The talk should last about 1 hour and should be presented to all employees to raise understanding of the issues surrounding mental health and the importance of starting a conversation and talking. Try to make it interactive.
Download a free Tool Box Talk and adapt according to your needs: www.buildingmentalhealth.net.
Deliver mental health training – half or one-day awareness course
This opportunity should be made available to anyone who might need more information on mental wellbeing, i.e. managers, foreman or supervisors. This gives a more in-depth understanding of mental health and will provide some tools for colleagues to help signpost individuals who are struggling to get appropriate help.
For a list of construction aligned mental health awareness training visit: www.buildingmentalhealth.net.
Ensure you have enough mental health first aiders for your place of work
Set a policy within your company to have a healthy ratio of certified Mental Health First Aiders for every worker or contractor on site. Staff can be trained and certified through a nationally recognised course which usually lasts 2 days.
Making a difference
Working alongside the volunteer guardians at Building Mental Health and with funding from CITB, the charity is managing a two-year project to train 300 construction industry-focussed Mental Health First Aid Instructors, so they, in turn, can deliver Mental health First Aid Courses.
With the shocking statistic that two construction workers are taking their own life every single working day, it’s time to take action. There is no doubt that the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity and the work they are doing to support those in need in our industry are making huge strides in the right direction. But they can only do that with the industry’s ongoing support.
Their ‘Save a Life’ campaign urges companies to pledge an annual donation so that there is predictable and sustainable income to plan for the future and continue to extend their charitable services. You can find out more about the Company Supporters scheme here.
As well as developing the Building Mental Health programme and delivery professional mental health training courses, the Charity wants to extend the support available through its 24/7 Construction Industry Helpline and Construction Industry Helpline App.
Bill Hill, CEO of the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity said: “Our mission is that no construction worker should feel alone in a crisis.
“Our 24/7 helpline and app goes a long way to reaching out to those in need, but as an industry, we also need to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health by getting the conversation started and educating as many people as possible as to where and how they can seek help.”