Joint conference explores mental health in construction and skin conditions

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skin conditions
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A joint conference held at Ark Conference Centre, Basingstoke is set to explore how poor mental health can affect skin conditions and the construction industry

The ‘Mental wellbeing – the next step’ conference taking place on the 3rd December, has been set up by Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) to offer help and expertise to those working in the sector.

Links between skin conditions such as psoriasis, dermatitis and eczema and poor mental health will be among the topics discussed at the conference.

An expert talk by Dr Helen Taylor, an Associate Member of IOSH and a Partner at EnviroDerm Services, will explore how poor mental health can have significant effects on the condition of our skin.

Dr Taylor said: “Mental health issues such as anxiety and depression can have a profound influence on the condition of our skin. Skin is often described as the ‘window of the soul’, as it reflects how we’re feeling on the inside as much as it shows how we’re feeling on the outside.

“Our skin is a barrier to external illness, so when it isn’t faring well it impacts our defences.

“Sadly, despite skin being our largest organ, skin diseases are often overlooked, as people do now view them as the top priority.

“This can have a snowball effect, as failing to treat skin conditions can affect us in other ways, including having negative impacts on our mental health and causing sleep deprivation due to being uncomfortable in bed.”

In a separate speech, Joscelyne Shaw, from Mates in Mind, will be discussing the importance of mental wellbeing in the UK construction industry.

Mates in Mind aims to raise awareness, address the stigma of poor mental health and improve the positive mental wellbeing of construction workers.

A panel of speakers representing HR, occupational health and procurement will also discuss and take questions about mental wellbeing in the workplace and what employers can do to support their staff.

Poor mental health in the construction industry was recently described during IOSH’s first annual construction conference as ‘the silent epidemic’.

Work-related stress, depression and anxiety overtook musculoskeletal disorders as the most reported workplace health issue in the sector.

As a result, the construction industry has more suicides than any other profession, with 454 construction workers taking their own lives in 2016.

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