New report brings mental health in construction to centre stage

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Mental illness in construction is becoming an increasingly prevalent problem. A new Mind Matters survey highlights some problem areas within the sector

Mental health within the construction industry has been a growing problem for some time. In 2016, a report from mental health charity the Samaritans found that suicide kills more construction workers than falls from height, which twists the traditional view of construction work being dangerous because of exposure to hazards.

Earlier in the year, over 300 construction leaders gave their commitment to tackling the stigma associated with mental health via employer support and the sharing of information. This programme aimed to raise the profile of mental health and spark more discussion, hopefully leading to a reduction in the stigma surrounding it.

Tackling the problem

New reports, like the Mind Matters survey, are part of an ongoing attempt to discern why mental illness is on the rise in the sector, as well as what can be done to alleviate it.

Pressures including repeated relocation, unsociable working hours and the male dominated nature of the industry are all thought to play a role in the above average incidence of mental illness in the sector.

One of the more frightening statistics within the report is that a quarter of construction workers have considered suicide. This is made worse by the fact 82 per cent of respondent feel mental illness is a taboo subject in construction, with many admitting they had suffered through their problems in silence.

One of the main findings of the report is the role the employer has in supporting workers. The report found that among those who have suffered mental health issues, only 41 per cent received appropriate assistance from employers. This statistic shows the significant inroads that still need to be made by employers to support staff with mental illness.

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